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BEOKEN TO HARNESS 



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lis EEMEMBEANCE 



OF 



CONSTANT KINDNESS. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. 

I. Me. Churchill's Ideas are Monastic . 
II. Down at Bissett 

III. Starting the Game 

IV. The Commissioner's Views are Matrimonial 
V. " There's Nothing half so sweet in Life" 

VI. The Commissioner's Shell explodes 
VII. Touching a Proposal 
VIII. Touching another Proposal 

IX. "A LITTLE PROUD, BUT FULL OF PlTY" 

X. At the Tin-Tax Office, No. 120 . 
XI. With the Secretary 
XII. Where Mr. Pringle went to 

XIII. Mr. Prescott's Proceedings 

XIV. Miss Lexden on Matrimony 
XV. Mother and Son 

XVI. " For better, for worse" 
X"VII. Mixing Operations . 
XVIII. The SchrSders at Home 
XIX. The Old or the New? 
XX. The Churchills at Home 
XXI. The Flybynights . 
XXII. Mr. Simnel at The Den . 

XXIII. Mr. Beresford in pursuit 

XXIV. Barbara's first Lesson in the Manege 
XXV. A Garden-party at Uplands 

XXVI. Showing who were " Pigott and Wells' 
XXVII. Weaving the Web 



PAGE 

1 

9 

23 
31 
43 
57 

68 
7G 
81 
88 
98 
110 
120 
127 
143 
154 
1G1 
171 
188 
190 
211 
225 
204 
245 
255 
270 
27G 



VI 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. 




PAGE 


XXVIII. 


Tightening the Curb 


. 291 


XXIX. 


Me. Scadgees pays a Visit 


. 307 


XXX. 


After the Storm .... 


. 321 


XXXI. 


The Paper Bullet .... 


. 336 


XXXII. 


Half-eevealed .... 


. 318 


XXXIII. 


The House of Mourning 


. 364 


XXXIV. 


Et tu Beute ! 


. 380 


XXXV. 


Balthazae 


. 390 


XXXVI. 


" Be sure your Sin will find you out" . 399 


XXXVII. 


Ministering Angels 


. 408 


XXXVIII. 


Under Pressure .... 


. 421 


XXXIX. 


"We kissed again with Tears" . 


. 435 


XL. 


Going Home 


. 446 


XLI. 


The Day after 


. 455 


XLIL 


AND LAST 


. 461 



BROKEN TO HARNESS. 



CHAPTER I. 

MR. CHURCHILL'S IDEAS ARE MONASTIC. 

The office of the Statesman daily journal was not popular 
with the neighbours, although its existence unquestion- 
ably caused a diminution of rent ha its immediate prox- 
imity. It was very difficult to find — which was an im- 
mense advantage to those connected with it, as no one 
had any right there but the affiliated; and strangers 
burning to express their views, or to resent imaginary 
imputations cast upon them, had plenty of time to cool 
down while they wandered about the adjacent lanes in 
vain quest of their object. If you had business there, 
and were not thoroughly acquainted with the way, your 
best plan was to take a sandwich in your pocket, to pre- 
pare for an afternoon's campaign, and then to turn to the 
right out of Fleet Street, down any street leading to the 
river, and to wander about until you quite unexpectedly 
came upon your destination. There you found it, a 
queer, dumpy, black-looking old building, — like a ware- 
house that had been sat upon and compressed, — nestling 
down in a quaint little dreary square, surrounded by the 
halls of Worshipful Companies which had never been 
heard of save by their own Liverymen, and large churches 
with an average congregation of nine, standing mildewed 
and blue-mouldy, with damp voters'-notices peeling off 
their doors, and green streaks down the stuccoed heads 
of the angels and cherubim supporting the dripping arch 

B 



2 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

over the porch, in little dank reeking churchyards, where 
the rank grass overtopped the broken tombstones, and 
stuck nodding out through the dilapidated railing. 

The windows were filthy with the stains of a thousand 
showers; the paint had blistered and peeled off the heavy 
old door, and round the gaping chasm of the letter-box; 
and in the daytime the place looked woebegone and de- 
serted. Nobody came there till about two in the after- 
noon, when three or four quiet-looking gentlemen would 
drop in one by one, and after remaining an hour or two, 
depart as they had come. But at night the old house 
woke up with a roar; its windows blazed with light; its 
old sides echoed to the creaking throes of a huge steam- 
engine; its querulous bell wa,s perpetually being tugged; 
boys in paper caps and smeary faces and shirt-sleeves 
were perpetually issuing from its portals, and returning, 
now with fluttering slips of paper, now with bibulous 
refreshment. Messengers from the Electric Telegraph 
Companies were there about every half-hour; and cabs 
that had dashed up with a stout gentleman in spectacles 
dashed away with a slim gentleman in a white hat, re- 
turning with a little man in a red beard, and flying off 
with the stout gentleman again. Blinds were down all 
round the neighbourhood; porters of the Worshipful Com- 
panies, sextons of the congregationless churches, agents 
for printing-ink and Cumberland black-lead, wood-en- 
gravers, box-block sellers, and the proprietors of the 
Never-say-die or Health-restoring Drops, who held the 
corner premises, — were all sleeping the sleep of the just, 
or at least doing the best they could towards it, in spite 
of the reverberation of the steam-engine at the office of 
the Statesman daily journal. 

On a hot night in September Mr. Churchill sat in a 
large room on the first-floor of the Statesman office. On 
the desk before him stood a huge battered old despatch- 
box, overflowing with papers — some in manuscript, neatly 
folded and docketed; others long printed slips, scored and 
marked all over with ink-corrections. Immediately in 
front of him hung an almanac and a packet of half-sheets 



MR. OinniOTIILL'S IDEAS ARE MONASTIC. 3 

of note-paper, strung together on a large hook. A huge 
waste-paper basket by his side was filled, while the floor 
was littered with envelopes of all sizes and colours, frag- 
ments cut from newspapers, ink-splashes, and piles of 
books in paper parcels waiting for review. A solemn old 
clock, pointing to midnight, ticked gravely on the man- 
telpiece; a small library of grim old books of reference, 
in solemn brown bindings, with the flaming cover of the 
Post-Office Directory like a star in the midst of them, 
was ranged against the wall ; three or four speaking tubes, 
with ivory mouthpieces, were curling round Mr. Churchill's 
feet; and Mr. Churchill himself was reading the last num- 
ber of the Revue des Deux Monies by the light of a shaded 
lamp, when a heavy hand was laid on his shoulder, and 
a cheery voice said, 

" Still at the mill, Churchill? still at the mill?" 
"Ah, Harding, my dear fellow, I'm delighted to see you !" 
"I should think you were," said Harding, laughing; 
" for my presence here means a good deal to you, — bed, 
and rest, and country, eh? Well, how have you been? 
— not knocked up ? You've done capitally, my boy ! 
I've watched you carefully, and am more than content." 
(For Mr. Harding was the editor of the Statesman, and 
Churchill, one of his principal contributors, had been 
taking his place while he made holiday.) 

" That's a relief," said Churchill. " I've been rather 
nervous about it; but I thought that Tooby and I be- 
tween us had managed to push the ship along somehow. 
Tooby's a capital fellow!" 

"Yes, yes," said Mr. Harding, seating himself; "Tooby 
is a capital fellow, and there's not a better ' sub' in Lon- 
don. But Tooby couldn't have written that article on the 
Castle-Hedingham dinner, or shown up the Teaser's blun- 
ders in classical quotation, Master Frank. Palmam qui 
meruit. Who did the Bishops and the Crystal Palace?" 
" Oh, Skimmer wrote those. Weren't they good?" 
" Very smart ; very smart indeed. A thought too 
strong of Billingsgate, though. That young man is a 
very hard hitter, but Avants training. Where's Hawker?" 



4 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" Just gone. He's been very kind and very useful, 
bo have Williams and Burke, and all. And you — how 
have you enjoyed yourself?" 

" Never so much in my life. I've read nothing but 
the paper. I've done nothing but lie upon the beach 
and play with the children." 

"And the children — are they all right? and Mrs. 
Harding?" 

" Splendid! I never saw the wife look so well for the 
last six years. She sent all kind remembrances to you, 
and the usual inquiry." 

"What! if I was going to be married? No, no; you 
must take back my usual answer. She must find me a 
wife, and it must be one after her own pattern." 

" Seriously, Frank Churchill, it's time you began to 
look after a wife. In our profession, especially, it's the 
greatest blessing to have some one to care for and to be 
petted by in the intervals of business-strife. There used 
to be a notion that a literary man required to be per- 
petually ' seeing life,' which meant ' getting drunk, and 
never going home;' but that's exploded, and I believe 
that our best character-painters owe half their powers of 
delineation to their wives' suggestions. Women, — by 
Jove, sir! — women read character wonderfully." 

"' Mrs. Harding has made a bad shot at mine, old 
friend," said Churchill, laughing, " if she thinks that I 
am in any way desirous to be married. No, no! So far 
as the seeing life is concerned, I began early, and all that 
has been over long since. But I've got rather a queer 
temper of my own. I'm not the most tolerant man in 
the world; and I've had my own way so long, that any 
little missy fal-lals and pettishness would jar upon me 
horribly. Besides, I've not got money enough to marry 
upon. I like my comforts, and to be able to buy occa- 
sional books and pictures, and to keep my horse, and my 
club, and — " 

" Well, but a fellow like you might pick up a woman 
with money!" said Harding. 

" That's the worst pick-up possible, — to have to be 



MR. CHURCHILL'S IDEAS ARE MONASTIC. 5 

civil to your wife's trustees, or listen to reproaches as to 
how ' poor papa's money' is being spent. No, no, no ! 
So long as my dear old mother lives, I shall have a 
decent home; and afterwards — well, I shall go into 
chambers, I suppose, and settle down into a club-haunt- 
ing old fogey." 

" Stuff, Frank; don't talk such rubbish. Affectation 
of cynicism and affectation of premature age are two of 
the most pernicious cants of the day. Very likely now 
at the watering-place to which you're going for your 
holiday, you'll meet some pretty girl who — " 

"Watering-place!" cried Frank, shouting with laugh- 
ter; " I'm going to my old godfather's countiy place for 
some partridge-shooting; and as he's an old bachelor of 
very peculiar temper, there's not likely to be much 
womankind about." 

" Ho, ho! A country place, eh? and partridge-shoot- 
ing? Hum, hum! We're coming out. Don't get your 
head turned with grand people, Frank." 

" Grand people !" echoed Churchill. " Don't I tell 
you the man's my godfather? There will probably be 
half a dozen men staying in the house, whose sole care 
about me will be that I carry my gun properly, and don't 
hit them out in the stubble." 

" When do you go?" 

" To-morrow, by the midday express. I've some 
matters to settle in the morning, and can't get down 
before dinner-time." 

" Well, then, get to bed at once. I've got to say a 
few words to Tooby; and I'll see Marks when he comes 
up with the statement, and take care that all's straight. 
You've seen your own proofs? Very well, then ; God 
bless you! and be off, and don't let us see your face for 
a month." 

They shook hands warmly; and as Churchill left the 
room, Harding called after him, " Two things, Frank: 
look out for a nice wife, and don't get your head turned 
with what are called ' swells.' " 

Throughout London town there breathed no simpler- 



6 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

minded man than George Harding. At College, as in 
after-life, he had lived with a very small set, entirely 
composed of men of his own degree in the world; and of 
any other he had the vaguest possible notion. His in- 
tellectual acquirements were great, and his reading was 
vast and catholic; but of men and cities he had seen 
literally nothing; and as, except in his annual vacation, 
when he could go down with his family and potter about 
the quietest of watering-places, he never went any where 
save from his home to the Statesman office, and from the 
Statesman office to his home, he was not likely to enlarge 
his knowledge of life. Occasionally, on a Saturday night 
in the season, he would get the Opera-box from the mu- 
sical critic, and would take Mrs. Harding to Her Ma- 
jesty's; but there his whole attention would be absorbed 
in contemplating the appearance and manners of the 
"swells," — the one word not to be found in the dic- 
tionary which he sometimes indulged in. Slightly Eadi- 
cal in his opinions was George Harding; and that he was 
not much gratified by his observation of these specimens 
of the upper ten thousand, was to be traced in certain 
little pungencies and acerbities in his leading articles 
after these Opera visits. He worshipped his calling, in 
his own honest, simple, steadfast way, and resented, 
quietly but sturdily, any attempts at what he considered 
patronage by those of higher social rank. The leaders 
of his political party, recognisant of the good service done 
to them by Harding's pen, had, on several occasions, es- 
sayed to prove their gratitude by little set civilities: huge 
cards of invitation to Lady Helmsman's Saturday-evening 
reunions had found their way to the Statesman's deep- 
mouthed letter-box; carriage-paid hampers of high-fla- 
voured black game sped thither from the Highland 
shooting-box, where the Foreign Secretary was spending 
his hard-earned holiday; earliest intimation of political 
changes, in " confidential" covers, were conveyed there 
by Downing-Street messengers. But George" Harding 
never appeared at Protocol House; his name was never 
seen low down amongst those of the Foreign-Office clerks 



MR. CHURCHILL'S IDEAS ARE MONASTIC. 7 

and outer selvage of fashion, chronicled with such urba- 
nity by Mr. Henchman of the High-Life Gazette; and no 
attention or flattery ever made him pander to a shuffle, 
or register a lie. He had a very high opinion of 
Churchill's talents and honour; but he knew him to be 
fond of praise, and, above all, greatly wanting in discre- 
tion. Harding had seen so many men full of promise 
fall into the dreary vortex of drink and debt and pot- 
house dissipation, that he had hailed with delight the 
innate decency and gentlemanly feeling which had kept 
Frank Churchill out of such dirty orgies; but now he 
feared lest the disinfectant might prove even worse than 
the disease itself, and lest the aristocratic notions, which 
his friend undoubtedly possessed, might lead him into 
society where his manliness and proper pride might be 
swallowed up in the effulgency of his surroundings. 

So mused George Harding, bending over the dingy 
old grate at the Statesman office, and gazing vacantly at 
the shavings with which it was filled, while waiting for 
Mr. Marks, the head printer, to bring him the " state- 
ment," showing the amount required to fill the paper. 
Meanwhile Churchill, cigar in mouth, was striding 
through the deserted streets, rejoicing in the thought 
of his comhig holiday, and inwardly chuckling over his 
friend's warnings. At last he stopped at a door in a dul] 
respectable street leading out of Brunswick Square, let 
himself in with a latch-key, drank a tumbler of soda- 
water, and glanced at the addresses of some letters in 
his little dining-room, exchanged his boots for slippers 
at the bottom of the staircase, and crept slowly up •$!!§ 
stairs. As he arrived at the second floor, he paused for 
a minute, and a voice said, " God bless you, Frank!'' 

"God bless you, mother!" he replied; "good night, 
dear;" and passed into his room. 

Then he sat himself on the side of his bed, and began 
leisurely to undress himself, smiling meanwhile. 

" Bring back a wife, and beware of swells, eh? That 
is the essence of Harding's advice. No, no, my darling 
old mother; you and I get on too well together to change 



8 BE0KE2J TO HARNESS. 

our lives. An amusing time a wife would have with me, 
— out half the night at the office, and she shivering 
in the dining-room waiting my return. Wife, by Jove ! 
Yes; and thick fat chops, and sixteen-shilling trousers, 
and the knifeboard of the omnibus instead of the cob to 
ride on! Xo; I think not. And as for swells — that old 
republican, Harding, thinks every man with a handle to 
his name is an enemy to Magna Charta. I should like 
to show him my old godfather walking into an idiotic 
peer of the realm!" 

And, very much tickled at the idea, Churchill put out 
his candle and turned in. 



CHAPTER II, 

DOWN AT BISSETT. 

At the very first sign of the season's breaking up, Sir 
Marmaduke Wentworth was in the habit of leaving his 
town-house in Curzon Street, and proceeding to his coun- 
try-seat of Bissett Grange. Grumble, his butler and body- 
servant, was the first person officially informed of the in- 
tended flight; but long before his master spoke to him, 
that far-seeing man had made up his mind, and arranged 
his plans accordingly. " Flitherses gone to-day, eh!" he 
would say to himself, as, in the calm, cool evening, he 
lounged against the jams of the street-door (Grumble was 
never seen in the area) and looked up to the opposite 
house. " Shutters up, and Flitherses hoff! Some Ger- 
man bath or other, no doubt; elber-shakin' for the old 
man, and forrin' counts for the young ladies. Lord 
Charles leff last week ; he'll be takin' his rubber at Spaw 
now as nateral as at the Club. The old Barrin has been 
sent away somewheres; and I'll bet a pound in two days 
my guv'nor says ' Hoff !' " And he would have won his 
bet. So soon as there was the slightest appearance of a 
move among the people of his circle; so soon as he found 
" shall have left town" given as an answer to an invite to 
one of his cosey little dinners; before Goodwood afforded 
the pleasantest excuse for the laziest of racing and the 
happiest of lunching; while flannel-clad gentlemen yet 
perspired copiously at Lord's, defending the wickets of 
Marylebone against the predatory incursions of " Peram- 
bulators" or "Eccentrics;" when Finsburyites were re- 
turning from their fortnight at Ramsgate, and while 
Dalstonians yet lingered on the pier at Southend, — old 
Marmaduke Wentworth would give his household brigade 



10 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the order to retreat, and, at their head, would march down 
upon Bissett Grange. 

And he was right; for there was not a nobler old 
house, nor prettier grounds, in the broad county of 
Sussex, where it stood. Contrast is the great thing, 
after all: tall men marry short women; the most thick- 
set nursery-maids struggle a-tiptoe to keep step with the 
lengthiest members of the Foot-Guards ; Plimnims the 
poet, who is of the Sybarite-roseleaf order, sighs for 
Miss Crupper the ecuyere, who calls a horse an oss, 
and a donkey a hass ; and so you, if you had been stay- 
ing at Brighton, and had gone on an excursion at half- 
a-crown an hour into the inner country, would have 
fallen in love with Bissett Grange. For, weary of the 
perpetual hoarse murmur of the sea, now thundering its 
rage in tremendous waves, now shrieking its lamenta- 
tion in long hissing back currents ; sick of the monotony 
of the " long-backed bushless downs," so cold and bare 
and wind-swept, echoing to the eternal plaint of the 
curlew, and shutting off the horizon with a dreary 
never-ending shoulder-blade of blank turf, — you, if you 
were lucky in your choice, and had a driver with a soul 
beyond the Steine and aspirations exceeding the Lewes 
Boad, would have come upon, at a distance of some five 
miles from Brighton, a little one-storied porter's lodge, 
nestling in ivy so deep that the dear parasite had it in 
its embrace, chimneys and all. Big, heavy, and wooden 
were the lodge-gates ; none of your pretty, light, elegant 
Coalbrookdale innovations. Gates, in Sir Marmaduke 
"Wentworth's idea, were things to keep impertinent pry- 
ing people out; and as such they could not be made too 
cumbrous or too opaque for his pleasure. They were 
very high as well as very heavy; so, if you had come 
with your 'cute driver in your fly excursion, you would 
have seen nothing but the quaint twisted chimneys; and 
even for that view you must have mounted unto the 
box. Save the friends of the owner, no one, in Marma- 
duke Wentworth's time, had ever passed the lodge, or 
rather, I should say, reached the house. Visitors to 



DOWN AT BISSETT. 11 

Brighton and Worthing, dying of ornui, had besieged 
the lodge, and implored permission to walk in the 
grounds; artists had asked to be allowed to sketch the 
house ; a " gentleman engaged upon the press " had 
written to say that he was sure there must be a legend 
connected with some chamber, if he might only be per- 
mitted to explore the mansion; and one man, a photo- 
grapher, bribed the lodge-keeper's grand-daughter with 
a piece of elecampane, and, in the absence of the legiti- 
mate portress, passed the gate. He had proceeded 
about a couple of hundred yards up the avenue, when 
he was met by Sir Marmaduke, who had just turned out 
for his leisurely afternoon ride. The sight of the itine- 
rant professor with his travelling camera roused the 
old gentleman in an instant ; he set spurs to his cob, 
hurried off to the intruder, and tapped him smartly on 
the back with his whip. One instant's glance revealed 
to him the whole affair: it was not a travelling Punch, 
whom he would have sent into the kitchen; it was not a 
man from the Missionary Society, whom he would have 
had ducked in the pond; it was — tant soitpeu — an artist: 
and for art of any kind, however humble, old Marmaduke 
had a regard. So when the trembling man looked up, 
and, divided between a notion of " cheeking the swell," 
or being impudent, and running away, or being cowardly, 
hit upon a middle course, and, guarding his head, at 
which nothing had been aimed, exclaimed, "Now, then! 
"What are you at? Who's hurting you?" all the old 
gentleman did was to bend from his saddle, to seize the 
intruder by the lobe of his ear, to turn him completely 
round, and, pointing to the gate, to utter in a hissing 
whisper the phrase " G-o away, man!" 

When the photographer attempted to explain, the 
ear-pressure was intensified, and the " G-o away, man!" 
uttered more loudly; at the third repetition, the photo- 
grapher wrung his ear from the old gentleman's fingers, 
and ran away abjectly. 

" Collodion and Clumpsoles ; or, the Homes of the 
British Aristocracy in the Camera: being Reminiscences 



12 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

of a Peripatetic Photographer," therefore, contained no 
view of Bissett Grange; which was to be regretted, as 
neither The Hassocks, the Eector's residence, nor The 
Eadishes, the seat of Sir Hipson Hawes, the lord of the 
manor, both of which figured extensively in the photo- 
graphic publication, was to be compared with Manna- 
duke Wentworth's ancestral mansion. The elm-avenue 
extended from the lodge to the house, — nearly half a 
mile, — and through the trees you saw the broad expanse 
of the park, covered with that beautiful soft turf which 
is in the highest perfection in Sussex, and which afforded 
pasture for hundreds of dappled deer, who would .raise 
their heads at the sound of approaching footsteps or 
carriage-wheels, and, after peering forward earnestly 
with outstretched necks at the intrusion, would wheel 
round and start off at a peculiar sling trot, gradually 
merging into the most graceful of gallops. 

Immediately in front of the porch, and only divided 
from it by the carriage-sweep, was an enormous flower- 
bed, sloping towards the sides, and culminating in the 
centre, — the pride of the head-gardener's soul. Right 
and left of the house were two arches, exactly alike. 
Passing through that to the left, you came upon the 
stables and coach-houses, of which there is little to be 
said, save that they were old-fashioned, and what the 
helpers called " ill-conwenient;" and that the fine London 
grooms who came down with their master's hacks and 
carriage-horses in the autumn — Sir Marmaduke was 
never at Bissett during the hunting season — used to 
curse them freely as a set of tumbledown old sheds, fit 
only for jobs and fly-'osses. And yet the old quadrangle, 
environed by the stable-buildings, with their red-tiled 
roofs and their slate-coloured half-hatch doors, each duly 
bearing its horse-shoe and its hecatomb of mouse and 
stoat skeletons, was picturesque, more especially of an 
evening, Avhen the setting sun gleamed on the quaint 
old clock-turret, ivy-covered and swallow-haunted, and 
steeped in a rich crimson glow the pretty cottage of old 
Martin, erst head-groom, now a superannuated pensioner 



DOWN AT BISSETT. 13 

—old Martin, who was never so happy as when babbling 
of bygone days, and who " minded the time " when the 
stabies Avere full of blood horses, and when Master 
Marmaduke (the present proprietor) rode Saucy Sally 
over all the raspers in the county. 

Through the other arch you came upon the gardens 
of the Grange. Immediately before you lay a broad 
expanse of lawn, — such smooth, soft turf as is only met 
with in England, and only there in well-to-do places. 
Short, crisp, and velvety was the grass, kept with the 
greatest care, and rolled and mown with the most un- 
deviating punctuality; for Sir Marmaduke was proud of 
his lawn, and liked to sit out there in his high-backed 
rustic seat on the hot August evenings, placidly smoking 
his cigar, and occasionally raising his head to be fanned 
by the soft sea-breeze which came blowing over the 
neighbouring downs. He would as soon have thought 
of allowing a servant to take a liberty with him as of 
permitting any one to drive a croquet-iron into that 
lawn, or to attempt to play any game on it. Between 
the house and the lawn ran a broad gravelled walk, pass- 
ing down which you came upon the orchard and upon 
the fig-garden, which was the glory of the county, and 
was enclosed with an old red-brick wall, which itself 
looked ripe and ruddy. To the right lay the kitchen- 
garden, — a fertile slope of land in the highest state of 
cultivation, dotted every here and there with huge lights 
and frames, and spread nets, and overgrown cucumbers, 
and bursting marrows; for though Sir Marmaduke cared 
but little for flowers, he was a great fruit-grower, and, 
next to seeing his pines and melons on his own table 
(where, glowing on the old ancestral Wentworth plate, 
they looked like a study for Lance), his great gratifica- 
tion was to bear away with them the prizes from the 
Horticultural Shows in the neighbourhood. Beyond the 
orchard was a large field, known as the Paddock, whither 
the croquet-players and the archers were relegated, and 
where the turf was almost as smooth as that of the 
sacred lawn itself. Over all, — house, lawn, orchard, 



14 BKOKEX TO HARNESS. 

kitchen-garden, and paddock, and far away across the 
surrounding downs — there was a delicious sense of calm 
and quiet ; a feeling which was heightened rather than 
lessened by the inhabitants of a rookery established in 
the tall elm-trees bordering the Paddock, and who, as 
they sailed over the grounds of the Grange, would ex- 
press their approbation by one single solemn caw. 

The house faced the avenue, and was a queer, odd, 
square block, by no means picturesque, but quaintly ugly 
something like an old-fashioned child, whose decidedly 
curious features, out of all drawing and impossible to be 
admired, yet have something humorously lovable in their 
expression. A staring red-brick house of Queen Anne's 
time, that ought to have been formal, and perhaps had 
been at some period or other, but which had undergone 
so many changes — had had so many gables put on here, 
and windows let in there, and rooms added on wherever 
they were wanted — as to lose all trace of its original de- 
sign, and to have become of a composite style of archi- 
tecture which would have driven Mr. Ruskin mad. It 
was the only gentleman's seat for miles round which was 
built of red brick, and not that gray stone which always 
looks weather-beaten and time-worn ; instead of which, 
the Grange had a jolly, cheery, comic expression, and 
when the sun gleamed on its little diamond-shaped, 
leaden-casemented windows, they seemed to twinkle like 
the eyes of a genial red-faced old gentleman at some good 
joke or pleasant dish. A comfortable old house in every 
sense of the word, with an enormous number of rooms, 
large airy spacious chambers, queer little nooks and snug- 
geries, long passages with pannelled partitions dividing 
them from other passages, partitions with occasional 
square windows or round eyelet-holes cut in them, wide 
straggling staircases with broad steps and broad balus 
trades, which no boy had ever yet been known to pass 
without sliding down them on his stomach. A couple 
of queer turreted chambers, like the place where the yard- 
measure lives in old-fashioned work-boxes, and a set of 
attics, low-roofed, and rather worm-eaten and mouldy- 



DOWN AT BISSETT. 15 

smelling. These Mere not inhabited, for the servants 
had their own quarters in the western wing; a bit of 
eccentric building, which had been thrown out long after 
the original structure, and gave to the old mansion, from 
the back view, a comical lopsided appearance ; and when 
the rest of the house was filled, the bachelors were sent 
to what was known as the Barracks, or the Kennel, a 
series of jolly little rooms shut out from the respectable 
portion of the building by a long passage, where they 
kept up their own fun till a very late hour of the night, 
where there was always an overhanging smell of tobacco, 
and whence, in the early mornings, there came such a 
roaring and clanging of shower-baths, and such a sound 
of hissing and sluicing and splashing, that you might 
have fancied yourself in the vicinity of an army of Tri- 
tons. 

Two o'clock on a hot afternoon at the end of Septem- 
ber; and, with the exception of a few sportsmen, who are 
now reclining under a high hedge and lighting pipes, 
after a succulent repast of game-pie, cold partridge, and 
bitter beer, all the party at the Grange is assembled round 
the luncheon-table in the dining-room. That is Marma- 
duke Wentworth, the tall old man standing on the hearth- 
rug, with his back towards the empty fire-grate. His 
head is perfectly bald and shining, and has but a fringe 
of crisp white hair; his features are what is called "aris- 
tocratic," well-shaped, and comely ; his eyes are cold, 
clear, gray; his lips slightly full, and his teeth sound and 
regular. He is in his invariable morning dress, — a blue 
coat with brass buttons, a buff waistcoat, and gray trou- 
sers with gaping dog's-eared pockets, into which his hands 
are always plunged. Looking at him now, you would 
scarcely recognise the roue of George the Fourth's time, 
the Poins to the wild Prince, the hero of a hundred in- 
trigues and escapades. In heat and turmoil, in drinking, 
dicing, and dancing, Marmaduke Wentworth passed his 
early youth; and from this debauchery he was rescued 
by the single passion of his life. The object of that pas- 
sion — his cousin, a lovely girl, whose innocence won the 



16 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

dissipated roisterer from his evil ways, and gave him new 
notions and new hopes — died within three months of their 
engagement; and from that day Wentworth became an- 
other man. He went abroad, and for ten years led a 
solitary studious life; returning to England, he brought 
with him his bookworm tastes; and it was long before he 
emerged from the seclusion of Bissett Grange, which he 
had inherited, and returned once more to London life. 
Even then, he nought his society in a very different set 
to that in which he had previously shone. George the 
Great was dead; sailor King William had followed hin_ 
to the grave ; and the new men fluttering round the court 
of the new Queen, setting fashions and issuing social or- 
dinances, had been cradled children when Marmaduke 
"Wentworth had copied Brummel's cravats, or listened to 
Alvanlev's tons mots. Even had he continued a " dandy," 
he would have been displeased with the " swells" to whom 
the dandies had given place ; and now, changed as he 
was into a disappointed elderly gentleman, with a bitter 
tongue and an intolerant spirit, his unsocial cynicism 
bored the new men, while their slangy flippancy dis- 
gusted him. So, in the phrase of the day, he " went in 
for a new excitement ;" and, though his name and his 
appearance were as well known in London as those of 
the Duke of Wellington, there were but few people of 
his own status or time of life who were retained on an 
intimate footing. Some few old friends, who themselves 
had suffered heart- shipwreck, or seen their argosies of 
early feelings go down in sight of port, claimed com- 
panionship with the querulous, crotchety companion of 
their youth, and had their claims allowed. His odd, 
quaint savagery, his utter contempt for the recognised 
laws of politeness, his free speaking, and his general 
eccentricity, had a great charm for young people of both 
sexes; and if they had any thing in them to elevate them 
above the ordinary run of yea-and-nay youno- persons 
they invariably found their advances responded to. Then 
there was a great attraction for young people in the so- 
ciety which they met at one of Marmaduke's dinners 



DOWN AT BISSETT. 17 

men whose names were before the world ; an occasional 
cabinet-minister sweetening the severities of office with 
a little pleasant relaxation in company where he might 
take the mask from his face and the gag from his mouth; 
authors of note ; rising artists ; occasionally an actor or 
two, — all these were to be found round Wentworth's 
table. The old gentleman was in London from January 
to July. Dining that time he gave four dinner-parties 
a week (one of them, I regret to say, and generally the 
pleasantest, on a Sunday), and during the other three 
days dined out. He was a member of the True-Blue and 
the Minerva Oliibs, but seldom went to either; he was 
admissible by the hall-porter of every theatre in London, 
and sometimes strayed behind the scenes and took pos- 
session of the green-room hearthrug, whence he vented 
remarkably free and discriminating criticisms on the ac- 
tors and actresses surrounding him. He had one special 
butt, an old German baron of fabulous age, who was sup- 
posed to have been a page to Frederick the Great, who 
had been for thirty years in England, and had only ac- 
quired the very smallest knowledge of its language, and 
whose power of placidly enduring savage attacks was only 
equalled by the vigour of his appetite. The Baron was 
never brought down to Bissett ; but, as we have heard 
from Grumble, was sent off to some seaside place to re- 
cruit his digestion; whence he invariably turned up again 
in Curzon Street in January, with the same wig, the same 
dyed beard, the same broken English, and an appetite, 
if any thing, improved by his marine sojourn. 

There is a strange medley now collected at the Grange. 
That tall girl, seated at the far end of the table, with her 
chin leaning on her hand, is Barbara Lexden. Three 
years ago, when, at nineteen, she was presented, she cre- 
ated & furore; and even now, though her first freshness 
is gone, she is even more beautiful — has rounded and 
ripened, and holds her own with the best in town. More 
distingv.e-\ookmg than beautiful, though, is Barbara. Her 
face is a little too long for perfect oval ; her nose is very 
slightly aquiline, with delicately curved, thin, transparent 

G 



18 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

nostrils ; her forehead marked with two deep lines, from 
a curious trick of elevating her eyebrows when surprised, 
and shaded with broad thick masses of dark-brown hair, 
bound tightly round her head, taken off behind her ears, 
— small, and glistening like pink shells, — and terminat- 
ing in a thick plaited clump ; sleepy, greenish-gray eyes, 
with long drooping lashes ; a tall, undulating, pear-shaped 
figure, always seen to best advantage in a tight-fitting 
dress, with a neat little collar and nun-like simple linen 
cuffs ; a swimming walk ; feet and ankles beyond com- 
pare ; and hands — ah, such hands ! — not plump, slender, 
with long fingers, and rosy filbert nails ; such hands as 
Ninon de l'Enclos might have had, but such as, save on 
Barbara, I have only seen in wax, on black velvet, under 
a glass case, modelled from Lady Blessington's, and pur- 
chased at the Core-House Sale. Blue was her favourite 
colour, violet her favourite perfume, admiration the long- 
ing of her soul. She was never happy until every one 
with whom she was brought into contact had given in 
their submission to her. No matter of what age or in 
what condition of life, all must bow. Once, during a 
Commemoration Week at Oxford, she completely turned 
various hoary heads of houses, and caused the wife of an 
eminent Church dignitary, after thirty years of happy 
marriage, to bedew her pillow with tears of bitter jea- 
lousy at seeing how completely the courteous old dean 
was fascinated by the lovely visitor; and she would laugh 
with saucy triumph as she heard the blunt, outspoken 
admiration of working-men as she sat well forward in 
the carriage blocked up in St. James's Street on a Draw- 
ing-room day, or slowly creeping along the line of ve- 
hicles which were " setting down" at the Horticultural- 
Gardens gates. 

"With the exception of flirtation, in which she would 
have taken the highest honours, her accomplishments 
were neither more nor less than those of most women 
of her position. She played brilliantly, with a firm, dash- 
ing touch, and sang, perhaps not artistically, but with 
an amount of feeling thrown into her deep contralto that 



DOWN AT BISSETT. 19 

did frightful execution; her French was very good; her 
German passable, grammatical, and well phrased, but 
lacking the real rough accent and guttural smack. At 
all events, she had made the most of what schooling she 
had had, for it was desultory enough. Her father, the 
youngest son of a good family, ran away with the black- 
eyed, ruddy-cheeked daughter of the Herefordshire par- 
son with whom he went to read during the Long Vaca- 
tion; was immediately disinherited by his father; left the 
University, and by the influence of his family got into a 
Government office; where, by his own exertions, he got 
into bad company, into debt, and into prison. On his 
deathbed he commended his wife and daughter to the 
care of his elder sister, who had never married, but lived 
very comfortably on the property which ought to have 
been his. Miss Lexden came once to see her brother's 
widow and orphan in the lodgings which they had taken 
in Lambeth to be near the King's Bench Prison. But 
years of trouble had not changed the poor mother for 
the better, and her stately sister-in-law regarded her with 
horror. In truth, the colour had faded from her rosy 
cheeks, and the light died out of her black eyes long ago, 
and had left her a dowdy, silly, fussy little woman, with 
nothing to say. So Miss Lexden thought she could best 
fulfil her brother's charge with least trouble to herself by 
allowing the bereaved ones fifty pounds a year; and on 
this, and what she could make by working for the Berlin- 
wool and fancy-stationery shops, the widow supported 
herself and her child for some twelve years, when she 
died. Miss Lexden then took the child to the dull, 
stately old house in Gloucester Place, Portman Square; 
where, with the aid of a toady, the daily visit of a smug 
physician, an airing in a roomy old carriage drawn by 
a couple of fat horses, a great deal of good eating and 
drinking, and a tolerable amount of society, she managed 
to lead a jolly godless old life. She found her niece, 
then fourteen years old, less ignorant and more present- 
able than she had imagined; for Barbara had received 
from her mother a sound English education, and had, on 



20 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the pea-and-pigeon principle, picked up a little French 
and the rudiments of music. She looked and moved like 
a lady, and moreover had an insolence of manner, a de 
haut en oas treatment of nearly every body, which the 
old lady hailed as a true Lexden characteristic, and re- 
joiced over greatly. So Barbara was sent to Paris for 
three years, and came back at seventeen finished in edu- 
cation, ripened in beauty, and a thorough coquette at 
heart. Of course she had already had several affaires: 
several with the professors attached to the Champs-Ely- 
sees pension; one with an Italian count, who bribed the 
ladies'-maid to convey notes, and who was subsequently 
thrashed and instructed in the savate by the Auvergnat 
porter of the establishment ; and one with an English 
gentleman coming over from Boulogne; and her aunt 
used to encourage her to tell of these, and would laugh 
at them until the tears came into her eyes. 

At nineteen she was presented, made her coup, and 
now for two seasons had been a reigning belle. Offers 
she had had in plenty, — youthful peers with slender in- 
comes ; middle-aged commoners, solemn, wealthy, and 
dull ; smug widowers, hoping to renew the sweets of 
matrimony, and trusting to bygone experience to keep 
clear of its bitters. But Barbara refused them all; played 
with them, landed them, — giving them all the time the 
most pleasurable sensations of encouragement, as old 
Izaak used to tickle trout, — and then flung them back, 
bruised and gasping, into that muddy stream the world. 
She told her aunt she was playing for a high stake ; that 
she did not care for any of these men; that she did not 
think she ever should care for any one ; under which cir- 
cumstances she had better make the best bargain of her- 
self, and go at a high price. There are plenty of women 
like this. We rave against cruel parents and sordid 
Mammon-matches ; but very often the parents are merely 
passive in the matter. There are plenty of girls who 
have walnuts, or peach stones, or something equally im- 
pressible, where their hearts should be, who have never 
experienced the smallest glimmer of love, and who look 



DOWN AT BISSETT. 21 

upon the possession of a carriage and an Opera-box, and 
admission into high society, as the acme of human en- 
joyment. 

Sitting next to Barbara is Fred Lyster, a slim, dark 
man, with small regular features and a splendid flowing 
black beard. He was educated at Addiscombe, and was 
out in India under Cough and Outram; did good ser- 
vice, was highly thought of, and was thoroughly happy; 
when his old godfather died, and left him heir to a pro- 
perty of three thousand a year. He returned at once to 
England, and became the most idle, purposeless, dreamiest 
of men. He had tried every thing, and found it all hol- 
low. He had travelled on the Continent, been on the turf, 
gambled in stocks and railways, kept a yacht, and was 
bored by each and all. He had thought of going into 
Parliament, and went for two nights into the Speaker's 
Gallery; but did not pursue the idea, because he found 
that " the fellows talked so much." His plaintive moans 
against life were sources of intense amusement to his 
friends; and when he discovered this — which he did at 
once, being a very long way from a fool — he was not in 
the least annoyed, but rather lent himself to the idea, 
and heightened his expressions of ennui and. despondency. 
He liked to be with Sir Marmaduke; for the old gentle- 
man's brusque manners and general intolerance afforded 
him real amusement, and he laid himself open to attack 
by always being more than ever drawling and inane when 
in his company. The baronet, who had a quick percep- 
tion of character, knew Lyster's real worth, and often 
talked to him seriously about having some purpose in 
life; and when he only got vague and dreamy replies, 
he would burst out into a torrent of invective, in the 
middle of which Lyster would run, shrieking with laugh- 
ter, from the room. 

Next to Captain Lyster sits Miss Lexden, Barbara's 
aunt ; a fat, placid-looking old lady, in a flaxen front, 
which, with a cap covered with ribbons and flowers, 
seemed skewered on to her skull by a couple of large 
pins, the knobs of which presented themselves like bosses 



22 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

on her temples. She was a cousin of Sir Marmaduke's, 
and the elder sister of the old man's one love, so that 
there was a great link of confidence between them; and 
she liked coming to Bissett, where the living was always 
so good, and where she met people who amused her. 
That pretty girl talking to her is Miss Townshend, — a 
delicious creature in a country-house, who can ride across 
country, and play croquet and billiards, and sing little 
French chansons, and dance, and who even has been 
known on occasions to drive a dogcart and smoke a 
cigarette. To secure her, entails inviting her father, 
an intensely respectable, dreary old gentleman — that is 
he, in the starched check cravat and the high coat-collar; 
a City magnate, who confines his reading to the City ar- 
ticle, and has to be promptly extinguished when he at- 
tempts to talk about the " policy of Kooshia." He is 
endeavouring just now to strike up a conversation with 
his neighbour Mr. Vincent, the member for Wessex, and 
Chairman of the Dinner-Committee of the House of 
Commons ; but Mr. Yincent is deep in the discussion 
of a cheese-omelette, and is telegraphing recommendation 
thereof to Mrs. Vincent, a merry, red-faced looking little 
woman, who, with her husband, passed her whole life in 
thinking about good eating. Sir Marmaduke's solicitor, 
Mr. Eussell, a quiet old gentleman, clad in professional 
black, who was always trying to hide his soft wrinkled 
hands under his ample coat-cuffs ; and Sir Marmaduke's 
factotum, Major Stone, otherwise Twenty Stone, a big, 
broad-chested, jovial, bushy-whiskered, moneyless free- 
lance, — completed the party. 



CHAPTER III. 

STARTING THE GAME. 

"Halloa!" suddenly shouted Sir Marmadukc from Ma 
vantage-ground on the rug. 

Every body looked up. 

"Halloa!" shouted the old gentleman again, plung- 
ing his hands over the wrists in his trousers-pockets, and 
bringing to the surface a couple of letters. "By Jove! 
I forgot to tell Mrs. Mason or any of them that more 
people were coming clown! Here, Stone — somebody — 
just ring that bell, will you? Here are two men coming 
down to-day — be here by dinner, they say; and I forgot 
to order rooms and things for them!" 

"Who are they, Sir Marmaduke?" asked Lyster 
languidly. 

"What the deuce is that to you, sir?" roared the old 
gentleman. "Friends of mine, sir! That's enough, isn't 
it? Have you finished lunch." 

" I haven't had any," said Lyster. " I never eat it. 
I hate lunch." 

" Great mistake that," said Mr. Vincent, wiping his 
mouth. " Ought always to eat whenever you can. 'Gad, 
for such an omelette as that I'd get up in the middle of 
the night." 

" Perhaps, Lyster," said Major Stone, coming back 
from ringing the bell, " you're of the opinion of the man 
who said that lunch was an insult to your breakfast and 
an injury to your dinner?" 

" He was a confounded fool, whoever he was," broke 
in Sir Marmaduke. " I hate those fellows who talk epi- 
grams. Halloa, Gumble, is that you? Tell Mrs. Mason 



24 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

two gentlemen are coming down to stop. She must get 
rooms ready for them, and that sort of thing." 

" Yes, Sir Marmachike," said Gumble. " In the Bar- 
racks, Sir Marmaduke?" 

"God bless my soul, sir! how should I know?" said 
his master testily. " What do I keep a housekeeper for, 
and a pack of lazy servants, who do nothing but eat, if 
I'm to be worried about things like this? Tell Mrs. 
Mason, sir! Do as you're told!" 

And exit Gumble, whose admirable training and long 
experience only prevented him from bursting into a 
guffaw. 

" Though you refused Captain Lyster, I don't think 
you'll mind telling me who these gentlemen are, Sir 
Marmaduke?" said Barbara, leaving the table, and ad- 
vancing to the rug. 

"No, my dear; I'll tell you any thing. Besides, 
they'll be here to-night. One is Mr. Beresford, and the 
other a learned professor. There, I've thrown them 
among you to worry their reputations before they ar- 
rive; and now I'll be off to my study. And don't any 
of you come and bother me; do you hear? If you want 
any thing, ask Stone for it. Come, Bussell." 

And, followed by the lawyer, the old gentleman left 
the room, after patting Barbara's head with one hand, 
and shaking his clenched fist, in a serio-comic manner, 
at the rest of the company. 

" What very strange people my cousin does get hold 
of!" said Miss Lexden, commencing the onslaught di- 
rectly the door was closed. " Which Mr. Beresford is it, 
do you suppose?" 

The question was general, but Mr. Townshend an- 
swered it, by saying pompously, 

" Perhaps it's Mr. Beresford, one of the Directors of 
the Bank of England, who — " 

" God forbid!" broke in Lyster, suddenly. 

" Amen to that sweet prayer," said Barbara, in a low 
voice. Then louder: " Oh, dear, let's hope it's not an 
old gentleman from the City." 



STARTING THE GAME. 25 

"No, do; don'b fear," said Major Stone, laughing. 
" You all know him. It's Charley Beresford, from the 
Tin-Tax Office." 

"What! the Commissioner?" exclaimed little Miss 
Townshend, clapping her hands. "Oh, I am so glad! 
He is such fun!" 

" Oh, every body knows Mr. Beresford," said Vincent; 
" capital judge of cooking ; on the committee of the 
Beauclerk." 

"I'm afraid I'm nobody, then," said old Miss Lex- 
den; "what age is he?" 

" Oh, same age as every body else," drawled Lyster. 
" I find every body's the same age, — seven-and-twenty. 
Nobody ever goes beyond that." 

" You know Mr. Beresford, aunt," said Barbara. 
" He's a favourite horror of yours. You recollect him 
at Hawley last year?" 

" Oh, the odious man who carried on so shamefully 
with that rich woman, — the grocer's widow!" said the 
old lady. " "Well, wasn't it a grocer? — merchant, then, 
if you like, — something to do with the City and the "West 
Indies, I know. Oh, a dreadful person!" 

" Charley Beresford's not a bad fellow, though," said 
Lyster. " Who did Sir Marmaduke say the other man 
was? Professor something." 

" Perhaps Major Stone knows him," chimed in Mrs. 
Townshend. 

" Who's the Professor that's coming down, Stone?" 
asked Lyster. 

"/don't know. I only know two professors: Jack- 
man the conjuror, — Jacquinto he calls himself, — and 
Holloway the ointment-man; and it's neither of them. 
This is some scientific or literary great gun that Sir 
Marmaduke was introduced to lately." 

" Oh, dear!" said Barbara, plaintively, " what a dread- 
ful idea! Probably an old gentleman, with gold spec- 
tacles and a bald head, covered all over with the dust of 
the British Museum, and carrying dead beetles and things 
in his pockets!" 



26 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

"A professor!" said Miss Townshend; "we had one 
at G-imp House — a French one! I'm sure he'll take 
snuff and have silk pocket-handkerchiefs." 

" And choke at his meals," added Barbara. " This 
is too horrible." 

" I trust he won't come from any low neighbourhood," 
said Mrs. Vincent; "the small-pox is very bad in some 
districts in London." 

"The deuce! I hope he won't bring it down here," 
drawled Lyster. 

" There's not the slightest fear of infection, if you've 
been vaccinated," said Mr. Townshend. 

" Oh, but I haven't," replied Lyster. " I wouldn't be 
— at least without chloroform; it hurts one so." 

"What nonsense, Captain Lyster!" laughed Barbara. 
" Why, I was vaccinated, and it didn't hurt me the 
least." 

" Did it hurt as much as sitting for your photograph?" 
asked the Captain, rising. " Because I'll never sit for 
my photograph again, except under chloroform." 

"Well, small-pox or not, you'll see the old gentleman 
at dinner," said Stone; "and you mustn't chaff him, 
mind, Lyster; for he's a favourite ot Sir Marmaduke's." 

And so the luncheon-party broke up. Old Miss Lex- 
den and Miss Townshend drove out in a pony-phaeton, 
with the intention of falling in with the shooting party; 
Mrs. Yincent retired to her room, to allow the process of 
digestion to take place during her afternoon nap; Mr. 
Yincent walked leisurely across the fields to the neigh- 
bouring village, and had an interview with a fisherman's 
wife, who had a new method of dressing mackerel; Mr. 
Townshend took out a pamphlet on the Bank Charter, 
and, having placed it before him, went straight off to 
sleep; Major Stone mounted his sure-footed cob and rode 
round the farm, looking after broken fences, and drop- 
ping hints as to the expediency of all being ready with 
the Michaelmas rent; and Barbara and Captain Lyster 
wandered into the Paddock, with the intention of play- 
ing croquet. 



STARTING THE GAME. 27 

But they had played only very few strokes, when 
Lyster, leaning on his mallet, looked across at his com- 
panion, and said gravely, 

" I assure you, Miss Lexden, I pity you from the bot- 
tom of my soul." 

As she stood there, her complexion heightened by the 
exercise, the little round hat admirably suiting the classic 
shape of her head, and the neatest little foot tapping the 
mallet, she didn't look much to be pitied; and she tossed 
her head rather disdainfully, as she asked, 

" Pity me, Captain Lyster! and why?" 

"Because you are so horribly bored here! I've been 
such a terrible sufferer from ennui myself, that I know 
every expression on those who have it; and you're very 
far advanced indeed. / know what it is that beats you, 
and I can't help you." 

"And what is it, pray?" 

" You know what Cleopatra says in the Dream of Fair 
Women: 'I have no men to govern in this wood!' Par- 
don me; I'm a singular person; not clever, you know, 
but always saying what I think, and that sort of thing; 
and you're dying for a flirtation." 

" Surely you have no cause to complain. I've never 
tried to make you my 'Hercules, my Eoman Antony,' 
Captain Lyster." 

" No; you've been good enough to spare me. You've 
known me too long, and think of me, rightly enough 
perhaps, as the 'dull, cold-blooded Ceesar;' and there's 
no one here that's at all available except Stone, and 
his berth with Sir Marmaduke is like a college-fellow- 
ship — he'd have to resign all income if he married. 
It's an awful position for you! Oh, by Jove, I forgot 
the two men coming! I'm afraid Charley Beresford's 
no go ; but you might make great running with the Pro- 
fessor." 

" Que dJhonn&ur 7" said Barbara, laughing at his serious 
face. " That is a compliment, especially after our notions 
of what he will be like;" and then, after a minute's re- 
flection, she added, with a proud gesture, " It would be a 



28 BEOKBN TO HARNESS. 

new field, at all events, and not a bad triumph, to win a 
steady sage from his books and — " 

"Vivien over again, by Jove!" said Lyster, in the 
nearest approach he had ever made to a shout; "Vivien 
divested of all impropriety; only look out that Merlin 
does not get you into the charm. They've no end of 
talk, these clever fellows. I knew a professor at Addis- 
combe — deuced ugly bird too — who ran off with an earl's 
daughter, all through his gab — I beg pardon, his tongue." 

" Oare aux corleaux! I flatter myself I can hold my 
own with the old crows," said Barbara; "however, this 
is mere nonsense. No more croquet, thank you, Captain 
Lyster. I must go in and reflect on your words of wis- 
dom." 

And dropping him a little curtsey of mock humility, 
she moved off towards the house. 

" I'd lay long odds she follows up the idea," said 
Lyster to himself, as he sat down on the twisted roots of 
an old elm and lit a cheroot. " She's a fine creature," he 
added, looking after her; " something in the Cheetah line, 
— fine and swervy and supple, and as clever as — as old 
boots. How awfully old I'm growing! I should have 
gone mad after such a girl as that once; and now — she 
doesn't cause me the slightest emotion. There's that 
little Townshend, now, — ah, that's quite another mat- 
ter!" 

Had Barbara really any notion of following out Lys- 
ter's sportive notion, and of playing Vivien to an aged 
Merlin? of winning from his goddess Study a man whose 
whole life had been passed at her shrine, and of lighting 
with as much fire as yet remained to him eyes dimmed 
with midnight researches? I know not. But I do know 
that she spent more time that evening over her toilet 
than she had done during her stay at the Grange, and 
that she never looked lovelier than in her rich blue din- 
ner-dress, trimmed with black lace, and with a piece of 
velvet passing through her hair, and coquettishly fastened 
at one side by a single splendid turquoise. Perhaps some 
thought of her conversation with Lyster flitted across her 



STARTING THE GAME. 29 

brain; for she smiled saucily as she stepped down the 
wide old staircase, and she had hardly composed her 
countenance by the time she had passed into the draw- 
ing-room, where the party was assembled. The room 
was lighted only by the flickering blaze of a wood-fire 
(for the evenings were already chilly), and she could only 
indistinctly make out that the gentleman whom Sir Mar- 
maduke introduced as " Professor Churchill," and who 
was to take her in to dinner, was tall, had no spectacles, 
and was apparently not so old as she had anticipated. 
But when she looked at him in the full light of the 
dining-room, she nearly uttered an exclamation of sur- 
prise when she saw, as the embodiment of her intended 
Merlin, a man of six feet in height, about thirty years of 
age, with short wavy brown hair, hazel eyes, a crisp dark 
beard, and a genial, good-humoured, sensible expression. 
All this she took in in covert glances; and so astonished 
was she, that after a few commonplaces she could not 
resist saying, 

"And are you really a professor, Mr. Churchill?" 

He laughed heartily — a clear, ringing, jolly laugh — 
as he replied, " "Well, I am, — at least I stand so honoured 
on the books of old Leipzig University, and our good 
host here always will insist on dubbing me with my full 
title. But I don't generally sport it. I always think of 
dancing, or calisthenics, or deportment, — Turveydrop, 
you know, — in connexion with the professorship. I can't 
help noticing that you look astonished, Miss Lexden; I 
trust I haven't rudely put to flight any preconceived 
notions of yours as to my dignity?" 

" No — at least — well, I will frankly own my notions 
were different." 

"There, you see, I had the advantage; with the ex- 
ception of flatly contradicting the late Mr. Campbell in 
his assertion about distance lending enchantment, &c, 
my ideas of you are thoroughly realised. But — I had 
seen you before." 

"You had!" said Barbara, feeling a pleasurable glow 
pass over her cheek at something in his tone. 



30 BEOKEN TO HARNESS. 

" Oh, yes; several times. The first time ten years 
ago, when I saw you in company with your father — " 

" My father! Where?" interrupted Barbara. 

"Where? oh, at an hotel, — Burdon's Hotel. You 
won't remember it, of course." (Barbara never knew 
why Major Stone, who was sitting near them, grinned 
broadly when Mr. Churchill said this.) " You were a 
little child then. And recently I have seen you at the 
Opera, and ridden past you in the Row." 

At this juncture Sir Marmaduke called out to Chur- 
chill from the other end of the table, and the conversa- 
tion became general. Barbara watched Mr. Churchill as 
he took a leading part in it, his earnest face lit up, and 
all listening attentively to his remarks. What a clever, 
sensible face it was! And he went to the Opera, and 
rode in the Park! What about Yivien and Merlin now? 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE COMMISSIONER'S VIEWS ARE MATRIMONIAL. 

Mr. Charles Beresford, Junior Commissioner of the 
Tin-Tax Office, who was expected down at Bissett, did 
not leave London, as he had intended, on the day which 
witnessed Mr. Churchill's arrival at that hospitable man- 
sion. His portmanteau and gun-case had been taken by 
his servant to the Club, where he was to call for them on 
his way to the station ; and he had arranged with one 
of his brother-commissioners to undertake his work of 
placing his initials in the corner of various documents 
submitted to him. He had stayed in town longer than 
his wont ; and as he looked out into the dreary quadrangle 
of Rutland House, in a block of which the Tin-Tax Office 
was situate, and gazed upon the blazing flags, and the 
dull commissionnaires sitting on their bench outside the 
principal entrance and winking in the heat, and upon the 
open windows opposite, — whereat two clerks were con- 
cocting an effervescent drink in a tumbler, and stirring 
it round with a paper-knife, — he cursed the dulness, and 
expressed his delight that he was about to rusticate for a 
lengthened period. 

Nobody heard this speech; or if, indeed, the words 
fell upon the ear of the soft-shod messenger who at that 
moment entered the room, he was far too dexterous and 
too old an official to let his face betray it. He glided 
softly to Mr. Beresford's elbow, as that gentleman still 
remained at the window, vacantly watching the powder- 
mixing clerks, and murmured, 

" Letter, sir." 

" Put it down," said Beresford, without turning round. 
" Official, eh?" 



32 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

"No, sir, private. Brought just now by a groom. 
No answer, sir." 

" Give it here," said Beresford, stretching out his 
hand. "Ah, no answer! That'll do, Stubbs." 

And Stubbs went his way to a glass-case, in which, 
in the company of four other messengers and twenty 
bells, his official days were passed, and gave himself up 
to bemoaning his stupidity in having taken his fort- 
night's leave of absence in the past wet July instead of 
the present sultry season. 

Mr. Beresford looked at the address of the letter, 
and frowned slightly. It was a small note, pink paper, 
with a couchant dog and an utterly illegible monogram 
on the seal, and the superscription was written in a long 
scrawly hand. There was an odour of patchouli, too, 
about it which roused Beresford's ire, and he muttered 
as he opened it, "Confounded stuff! Who on earth is 
she copying now, with her scents and crests and humbug? 
I thought she'd more sense than that!" And he ran his 
eye over the note. It was very short. 

" Dear Charley, — What has become of you? Why 
do you never come near The Den? It is nearly three 
weeks since you were here. I'm off to Scarborough on 
Tuesday; a lot of my pupils are there and want me, so I 
can carry on my little game of money-making, get some 
fresh air, and perhaps pick up some fresh nags to sell 
before the hunting season, all ' under vun hat,' as Tom 
Orme fasechous — facesh (I don't know how to spell it) 
— says. Come up and dine to-night at seven. There 
are two or three good fellows coming, and I want to talk 
to you and to look at your old phiz again, and see how 
much older you've grown during your absence, and how 
much balder; for, you know, you're growing laid, Charley, 
and that will be awful hard lines to such a swell as you. 
Seven sharp, mind. 

" Always yours, 

" K. M. 

"P.S. Charley, if you don't come, I shall think 



THE COMMISSIONER'S VIEWS ARE MATRIMONIAL. 33 

you've grown proud; and it'll be a great shame, and I 
shall never speak to you again. 

" K. M." 
Now lest, after a perusal of this letter, any one should 
think ill of its writer, I take leave to announce at once 
that Kate Mellon was a virtuous woman; pure in heart, 
though any thing but simple ; without fear, but not with- 
out as much reproach as could possibly be heaped upon 
her by all of her own sex who envied her good looks, 
her high spirits, and her success. There are, I take it, 
plenty of novels in which one can read the doings, either 
openly described or broadly hinted at, of the daughters 
of Shame under many a pretty alias; and it is because 
one of these aliases describes the calling of which Kate 
Mellon was the most successful follower, that I am so 
desirous of clearing her good name, and immediately 
vindicating her position with my readers. Kate Mellon 
was a horsebreaker, a bond-fide horsebreaker ; one who 
curbed colts, and "took it out of" kickers and rearers, 
and taught wild Irish horses and four-year-olds fresh 
from Yorkshire spinneys to curvet and caper prettily in 
the Park. She taught riding, too ; and half the Amazons 
in the Row owed their tightness of seat and lightness of 
hand to her judicious training. She hunted occasionally 
with the Queen's hounds and with the Pytchley, and no 
one rode straighter or with more nonchalance than she. 
Give her a lead, that was all she wanted; and when she 
got it, as she invariably did from the boldest horseman 
in the field, she would settle herself in her saddle, left 
hand well down, right hand jauntily on her hip, and fly 
over timber, water, no matter what, like a bird. In 
social life her great pride was that there " was no non- 
sense" about her; she was not more civil to the great 
ladies who sent their horses to her establishment to be 
broke, and who would occasionally come up and inspect 
the process, than she was to the stable-helpers' wives 
and children, who all worshipped her for her open- 
handed generosity. Tommy Orme, who was popularly 
supposed to be a hundred and fifty years old, but who 

D 



34 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

lived with the youth of the Household Brigade and the 
Foreign Office and the coryphees, and who knew every 
body remarkable in any one way, never was tired of 
telling how Kate, teaching the Dowager Lady "Wyl- 
minster to drive a pair of spirited dun ponies, had, in 
the grand lady's idea, intrenched upon her prerogative, 
and was told that she was a presuming person, and de- 
sired to remember her place. 

" Person, indeed ! " said Kate ; " person yourself, 
ma'am ! My place isn't by yQU after that, and now get 
the duns home the best way you can ;" with which she 
sprang from the low phaeton, struck off across the fields, 
and left the wretched representative of aristocracy "with 
a couple of plunging brutes that soon spilt the old woman 
into the hedge, broke the trap all to pieces, and rushed 
away home with the splinter-bar at their heels — give you 
my word!" as Tommy used to narrate it. 

Her manner with men was perfectly frank and open, 
equally devoid of reticence or coquetry. She called 
them all by their Christian names if they were common- 
ers, by their titles if they were lords. She answered at 
once when addressed as "Kitty," or "Old Lady," or 
"Stunner;" by all of which appellations she was known. 
She would lay her whip lightly across the shoulders of 
any particular friend as a token of recognition at the 
meet; would smoke a cigarette on her way home after 
the kill; and always carried sherry and sandwiches in a 
silver combination of flask and box. Her grammar was 
shaky, and her aspirate occasionally misplaced; she never 
read any thing but Bell's Life and books on farriery, and 
she laughed a loud, ringing, resonant shout; but her 
speech was always free from bad words, and no man 
ever tried a double entendre or a blasphemy twice in her 
presence. Living the odd strange life she did, defiant 01 
all society's prejudices, it was yet strange that even 
London slander had left her unassailed. They did say 
that she was very much taken by Bob Mayo's sabre-scar 
when he returned from the Crimea, and that Barker, the 
eteeple-chase rider, half gentleman, half jock, was en- 



THE COMMISSIONER'S VIEWS ARE MATRIMONIAL. 35 

gaged to her; but nothing came of either of these two 
reports. Early in her London career, very soon after 
she came to town, and when men were first beginning to 
inquire who was the dashing horsewoman who rode such 
splendid cattle with such pluck and skill, De Blague, 
the Queen's messenger, assumed to know all about her, 
and at Limmer's, one night, threw out certain hints by 
no means uncomplimentary to himself, and eked out 
with many nods and winks; but two days after that, as 
De Blague, with two other Foreign-Office men, was 
leaning over the rails in the Bow, Miss Mellon rode up, 
and denouncing him as a "bragging hound," slashed 
him with her by no means light riding-whip severely 
over the head and shoulders. After that day no one 
cared to say much against Kate Mellon. 

Who was she, and where did she come from? that 
no one positively knew. When The Den at Ealing (she 
so christened it; it was called Myrtle Farm before) was 
to let, the neighbours thought the landlord would stand 
out of his rent for many years. The house was a little, 
long, one-storied building, cut up into small rooms; old, 
dilapidated, and damp. The stables were rotting with 
decay; the barns untiled and tumbling down; the twenty 
or thirty acres of land attached were swampy and un- 
productive. The place stood untenanted for half a year. 
Then, one morning, an old gentleman arrived in a four- 
wheeled cab, went all over the premises, had an inter- 
view with the proprietor, announced himself as Mr. 
Powker, of the firm of Powker and Beak, of Lincoln's 
Inn, and within a fortnight the lease was assigned to 
Miss Kate Mellon, spinster. The house was papered 
and painted, and put in order; the stables were entirely 
altered and renovated, and fitted with enamel mangers, 
and tesselated pavements, and bronze devices for hold- 
ing the pillar-reins, and all the newest equine upholstery; 
some of the barns were converted into carriage-houses, 
and one of the largest into a tan-strewn riding-school; 
the land was thoroughly drained and laid out in pad- 
docks, where there were tan-rides and all kinds of jumps, 



36 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

and an artificial brook, and every thing for a horse's 
proper tuition. Miss Mellon did not receive visits from 
the neighbouring gentry, principally lawyers and mer- 
chants, who went regularly to business, and always 
stared hard at her when their wives were not with them; 
nor did she attend the parish-church ; but she gave 
largely to all the parochial charities, and in the winter 
had a private soup-kitchen of her own. I believe that 
occasionally gin was dispensed in small glasses to the 
soup-recipients ; but all was done under the superintend- 
ence of Freeman, the staid stud-groom, who had followed 
her from Yorkshire, where she said " her people " lived. 
But she never said any thing more about them ; and you 
would as soon have got a comic song out of an oyster as 
a word from Freeman. And she prospered wonderfully. 
She had to make large additions to the stables, and to 
build rooms for an increased force of grooms; and even 
then there were always half a score of horses waiting on 
her list for admission, either for training or cure. She 
made money rapidly, and kept it: no better woman of 
business ever breathed ; in a big ledger she scrawled her 
own accounts, and, as she boasted, could always tell to a 
farthing " how she stood." With all this she was °-ene- 
rous and hospitable ; paid her grooms good wages, and 
gave frequent dinner-parties to her friends, — dinner- 
parties which scandalised her solemnly pompous neigh- 
bours, who would look aghast at the flashing lamps of 
the carriages dashing up the little carriage-drive to fetch 
away the company at the small hours, or would listen 
from beneath their virtuous bedclothes to the shouts of 
mirth and snatches of melody which came booming over 
the hushed fields. 

One of these dinner-parties — that to which she had 
invited Beresford — is just over. The French windows in 
the long, low dining-room are open ; the table is covered 
with the remains of dessert, and some of the guests have 
already lighted cigars. Kate Mellon heads her table still; 
she never leaves the room to the gentlemen, — " It's slow," 
she says ; " women alone fight or bore ;" so she remains,. 



THE COMMISSIONER'S VIEWS ARE MATRIMONIAL. 37 

You can catch a good glimpse of her now under that 
shaded swinging moderator-lamp ; a little woman, with 
a closely-knit figure, long violet eyes, and red-gold hair, 
taken off over her ears, twisted in a thick lump at 
the back of her head, and secured with a pink coral 
comb of horse-shoe shape. She is dressed in white 
spotted muslin, fastened at the throat and waist with 
coral brooch and clasps. Her nose is a little too thick 
for beauty ; her lips full ; her mouth large, with strong 
white teeth ; her hands are white, but large and sinewy ; 
and the tones of her voice are sharp and clear. She is 
shouting with laughter at a song which a jolly-looking 
young man, sitting at the little cottage-piano at the end 
of the room, has just finished ; and her laugh makes the 
old rafters ring again. 

" I always yell at that song, Tom," she says. " I 
haven't heard it since last winter, the day that ' Punch' 
Croker dined here, and we gave him an olive to taste for 
the first time." 

"He's tremendous fun, is Punch," said the singer. 
" "Why didn't he dine here to-day ? Is he out of town ?" 

"He's got a moor with Penkridge," said Beresford, 
who was sitting next the hostess. " By Jove, how bored 
Penkridge will be before he's done with him !" 

" Punch has not got much to say for himself," said a 
tall man, in a dark beard. " I've had him down to dine 
witn me when I've been on guard at the Bank, and, 'pon 
my soul, he's never said a word the whole night !" 

"He was at Baden with us last year," said Beresford; 
" and when we used to sit and smoke our weeds after 
dinner in front of the Kursaal, he used to bore us so with 
staring at us and saying nothing, that we used to pay 
him to go away. Subscribe five francs, or thalers — ac- 
cording to our means, you know — and send him to play 
at the tables to get rid of him." 

" He's not a bad fellow, though, Punch Croker," said 
Kate. " And what I like in him is, he never lets out 
that he don't know every thing !" 

" Ko, that's just it !" said the tall guardsman. " Just 



38 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

after the Derby, I was confoundedly seedy, and my doc- 
tor told me I wanted more ozone." 

" What's that, Jack ?" asked the man at the piano. 

"Well, it's some air or stuff that you don't get by 
sitting up all night, and lying in bed till three. From 
the doctor's I went to the Rag, and found Meaburn there; 
and we'd just agreed to dine together, when Punch Croker 
came in. I told Meaburn to hold on, and we'd get a rise 
out of Punch. He asked us if we were going to dine, and 
we said yes, and that he might dine too, if he liked. And 
I told him I'd got some ozone, and asked him his opinion, 
as a sort of fellow who knew those things, how it should 
be cooked. He thought for one moment, and then said, 
perfectly quietly, ' Well, if you have it before the cheese, 
it should be broiled.' Never let on that he didn't know 
what it was : never changed a muscle of his face, — give 
you my word !" 

They all laughed at this, and then the tall guardsman 
said, " It's a great bore, though, to get a reputation for 
stupidity. It's as bad as being supposed to be funny. 
People are always expecting you to say stupid things, 
and sometimes it's deuced hard to do." 

" Poor old Charleville !" said Beresford; " we all sym- 
pathise with you, old fellow, though no one can imagine 
you ever found any difficulty in being stupid. Comes 
natural, don't it, old boy ?" 

Captain Charleville didn't seem to relish this remark, 
and was about to reply angrily, when Tom Burton, the 
man who had been singing, struck in hastily with, "Well, 
it's better to be or to seem stupid, than to be stupid and 
have the credit of being clever. Now there's Northaw, 
only said one decent thing in his life ; and because that 
has been told about, fellows say that he's a deuced clever 
fellow, and that there's more in him than you'd think." 

" What was the one good thing he did say ?" asked 
Kate. 

"Well, it was one day when he was out with the 
Queen's last season. Stradwicke was there, and Pattan, 
and Bellairs, and a lot of men ; and Northa-w was in a 



THE COMMISSIONER'S VIEWS ARE MATRIMONIAL. 39 

horrid bad temper, — had got up too soon, or something, 
and was as rusty as Old Boots; so while he was fretting 
and fuming about, and blackguarding the weather, and 
his stirrup-leathers, and every thing else, Tom Winch 
rode up to him. You know Tom Winch, son of great 
contractor, timber-man, builds bridges, and that sort of 
thing. ' Morning, my lord!' says Tom Winch. 'Morn- 
ing,' says Northaw, as sulky as a bear. ' What do you 
think of my new horse, my lord?' says Tom Winch. 
' Ugly brute,' says Northaw, looking up ; ' ugly, wooden- 
legged brute ; looks as if he'd been made at home. '" 

Burton rose during the laugh that followed his story, 
and rang the bell. " I must be off," he said ; " I've rung 
to have the phaeton round, Kitty. Charleville, you'll 
come with me ? I can find room for you, Beresford." 

" No ; thanks," said Beresford ; " I rode down. Oh, 
tell them to bring my horse round too," he added to the 
servant. 

" Wait five minutes, Charley," said Kate Mellon in 
an undertone; "let us have a quiet talk after they're 
gone. I've got something to say to you." 

" Well, good night, Kate ; good night, old lady. If 
you pick up any thing good -in Yorkshire, let's know, 
there's a Stunner! I've promised to mount my sister 
next season, and she sha'n't ride any thing you don't 
warrant. Good night, Beresford ; good night, old lady ;" 
and with hearty hand-shakes to Kate, and nods to Beres- 
ford, Captain Charleville and Tom Burton took them- 
selves off. 

" Now, Charley," said Kate, leaning forward on the 
table while Beresford lit a fresh cigar and threw himself 
back in his chair, — "now, Charley, tell us all about 
it." 

" About what ?" asked Beresford, rolling the leaf of 
his cigar round with his finger. " That is good, by Jove ! 
You say you want to talk to me, and you begin by ask- 
ing me to tell you all about it !" 

" I mean about yourself. You're horribly low, and 
dull, and slow, and wretched. You've scarcely spoken 



40 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

all the evening, and you ate no dinner, and you drank 
a great deal of wine." 

" You're a pretty hostess, Kitty ! You've checked 
off my dinner like the keeper of a talle-cVhote." 

" Well, you know you might drink the cellar dry, 
if you liked. But you're all out of sorts, Charley ; tell 
me all about it, I say !" 

"You certainly are a strange specimen, Stunner," 
said Beresford, still calmly occupied with his cigar-leaf ; 
" but there's a wonderful deal of good in you, and I don't 
mind telling you what I wouldn't say to any one else. 
I'm done up, Kitty ; run the wrong side of the post ; 
distanced, old lady. I've been hit frightfully hard all 
this year ; my book for the Leger looks awful ; I owe 
pots of money, and I am very nearly done." 

" My poor Charley ! said the girl, bending forward, 
with deep interest in her face. " That certainly is a 
blue look-out," she continued, — for however earnest was 
her purpose, she could not but express herself in her 
slang metaphor. " Is there nothing to fall back upon ?" 

" Nothing ; no resource, save one — and that I'm going 
to look after at once — marriage !" 

" Marriage !" 

" Yes ; if I could pick up a woman with money, I'd 
settle down into a regular quiet humdrum life. I'd cut 
the turf, and ride a bishop's cob, and give good dinners, 
and go to church, and be regularly respectable, by Jove ! 
I should make a good husband, too ; I think I should ; 
only — the worst of it is, that these women with money, 
by some dispensation of nature, are generally so fright- 
fully hideous." 

"Yes," said the girl, who had pushed her hands 
through her hair, and then clenched them tightly in 
front of her, and who was looking at him with staring, 
earnest eyes. " I can't fancy you married, Charley ; that's 
quite a new view of matters ; and, as you say, the rich 
women are not generally pretty. You can't have every 
thing, Charley?" 

" No," said Beresford, gloomily. " I know that ; 



TIIE COMMISSIONER'S VIEWS ARE MATRIMONIAL. 41 

and it would be deuced hard lines to have to take a Gor- 
don about with you, and to have to glare at a plain- 
headed woman sitting opposite you for the rest of your 
life. But need must — what am I to do ?" 

" Charley," said the girl, suddenly tilting her chair 
on to its front legs, and drumming with her right hand 
upon the table ; "look here. You can't have every thing, 
you know, and it's better to make the running over open 
ground, no matter how heavy, than to dash at a thick 
hedge where there may be water and Lord knows what 
on the other side. Don't hurry it so, Charley; you'll 
get pounded without knowing it, and then there'll be 
nothing to pull you through. You can't expect every 
thing in a wife, you know, Charley. If you got money, 
you couldn't look for rank, you know, eh ?" 

"Why, how you do talk about it, old lady!" said 
Beresford, flicking the ash off his cigar. " No ; I'm not 
exacting. I wouldn't care about her pedigree, so long as 
she was well weighted." 

" That's right ; of course not, Charley ! I should 
think you'd find some one, Charley ; not grand, you 
know, but good and honest, and all that. Not very 
beautiful either, perhaps, but not ugly, you know ; and 
one who'd love you, Charley, and be true to you, and 
take care of you, and make you a good wife." 

" Yes, I know, and all that sort of thing ; but where 
is she to come from ?" 

"You might find such a one, Charley, where you 
never looked for it, perhaps ; one who could bring you 
a little fortune, all honest money, and who could tell 
you of her past life, which you never dreamed of, and 
need not be ashamed of. There might be such a one, 
Charley !" 

She had slid from her chair to the ground, and knelt, 
with her hands on his knees, looking eagerly into his 
face. Her eyes gleamed with excitement ; she had 
pushed her hair back from her forehead, and her lips 
were parted in eager anticipation of his words. They 
came at length, very slowly. At first he turned pale, 



42 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

and caught his breath for an instant ; then gently lifted 
her hands, and muttered between his teeth, " It's impos- 
sible, Kate ; it can't be !" 

" Impossible !" 

"It can't be, I tell you. "What would — there, you 
don't understand these things, and I can't explain. It's 
impossible ! I was a fool to start the subject. Now I 
must go. Good-by, child ; write me a line from Scar- 
borough ; they'll forward it from the office. "Won't you 
say good-by ?" 

He gripped her cold, passive hand, and two minutes 
afterwards she heard the sound of his departing horse's 
feet on the carriage-drive. 

For a while Kate Mellon stood motionless, then 
stamped her foot violently, and sank into a chair, cover- 
ing her face with her hands, through which the tears 
welled slowly. Eousing herself at length, she hurried 
to a writing-table, pulled out a gaudily-decorated papier- 
mache blotting-book, and commenced scrawling a letter. 
She wrote hurriedly, passionately, until -she had covered 
the sheet, running her gold pen-holder through the 
tangled mass of hair at the back of her head, and twist- 
ing a stick of sealing-wax with her teeth the while. The 
letter finished, she skimmed through it hastily, put it in 
an envelope, and directed it to " F. Churchill, Esq, 
Statesman Office, E.C." 



CHAPTER V- 

" THBKE'S NOTHING HALF SO SWEET 1ST LIFE." 

Four days had slipped away since Churchill's first ar- 
rival at Bissett Grange, and he had begun to acknow- 
ledge to himself that they had passed more pleasantly 
than any previous time in his recollection. The mere 
fact of getting out of business was a great relief to him ; 
he revelled in the knowledge that he had nothing to do ; 
and, in odd times and seasons, — as he lay in bed of 
nights, for instance, — he would chuckle at the thought 
that the coming morrow had for him no work and no 
responsibilities in store ; and when he went up to dress 
himself for dinner, he would settle down into an easy- 
chair, or hang out of the open window, and delight in 
the prospect of a good dinner and delightful society, of 
music and conversation, from which no horrid clock- 
striking would tear him away, and send him forth to 
dreary rooms and brain-racking until the small hours of 
the morning. Society, music, and conversation ! It is 
true that he enjoyed them all ; and yet, when he came 
to analyse his happiness, he was fain to admit that they 
all meant Barbara Lexden. As in a glass darkly, that 
tall majestic figure moved through every thought, and 
• sinuously wound itself round every impulse of his heart. 
At first he laughed at his own weakness, and tried to 
exorcise the spirit, to whose spells he found himself suc- 
cumbing, by rough usage and hard exercise. There is 
probably nothing more serviceable in getting rid of a 
sharp attack of what is commonly known as " spooni- 
ness" — when it is accidental, be it remembered, not in- 
nate — than the eager pursuit of some healthy sport. 



44 BROKEX TO HARXESS. 

Men try wine and cards ; botli of which are instanta- 
neous but fleeting remedies, and which leave them in 
a state of reaction, when they are doubly vulnerable ; but 
shooting or hunting, properly pursued, are thoroughly 
engrossing while they last, and when they are over neces- 
sitate an immediate recourse to slumber from the fatigue 
which they have induced. In the morning, even should 
opportunity offer, the " spoony" stage is at its lowest 
ebb; it is rarely possible to work oneself up to the pro- 
per pitch of silliness immediately after breakfast, and 
then some further sporting expedition is started, which 
takes one out of harm's way. But in Churchill's case 
even this remedy failed; he was not much of a sports- 
man; not that he shot badly, but that he was perpetually 
distrait, and when reminded of his delinquencies by a 
sharp, "Your bird, sir!" from one of his companions, 
would fire so quickly, and with so much effect, as to 
mollify the speaker, and lead him to believe that it was 
shortsightedness, and not being a " Cockney" — that worst 
of imputations amongst sportsmen — that led the stranger 
to miss marking the rise of the covey. And yet Chur- 
chill displayed no lack of keen vision in making out the 
exact whereabouts of a striped petticoat and a pan of 
high-heeled Balmoral boots which crossed a stile a little 
in advance of the servants bringing the luncheon; but 
these once seen, and then- wearer once talked to, sport 
was over with him for the day, and he strolled back with 
Miss Lexden, at a convenient distance behind Miss 
Townshend and Captain Lyster, who led the way. 

" You are soon tired of your sport, Mr. Churchill," 
said Barbara; "I should have thought that you would 
have followed ardently anv pursuit on which you en-, 
tered." 

" You do me a great deal too much honour, Miss 
Lexden," replied Churchill, laughing; "my pursuits are 
of a very desultory nature, and in all of them I observe 
Talleyrand's caution, — Point de sele:' 

" And you carry that out in every thing?" 

" In most things. Mine is a very easy-going, un- 



" there's xothinc; half so sweet ix life." 45 

eventful, uncxcitablc life; I live thoroughly quietly; da 
capo — all over again; and it is seldom that any thing 
breaks in upon the routine of my humdrum existence." 

" Then," said Barbara, looking saucily up at him 
from under her hat — " then you do not follow the ad- 
vice which your favourite Talleyrand gave to the am- 
bassadors whom he was despatching, tenez tonne table, et 
soiijnez lesfemmes." 

Churchill looked up, and for an instant caught her 
glance ; then he laughed lightly, and said, 

" Well, not exactly; though the dinners at the club, 
even the modest joint and the table-beer, are not by any 
means to be despised; and as for the rest of it, not being 
a diplomatist, Miss Lexden, I have no occasion to play 
the agreeable to any one save in my own house, and, 
being a bachelor, the only woman I have to see to as 
properly soignee is my old mother, and I do like her to 
have the best of every thing." 

" Your mother lives with you?" 

" Yes, and will, so far as I can see, until the end of 
the chapter." 

" She — you must be very fond of her!" said Barbara, 
as by a sudden impulse, looking up at his kindling eyes 
and earnest face. 

"I am very proud of her," he replied; "she is more 
like my sister than my mother ; enters into all my hopes 
and fears, shares all my aspirations, and consoles me in 
all my doubts." 

" More like your wife, then," said Barbara, with a 
slight sneer. " You have in her a rare combination of 
virtues." 

" ^"o," said Churchill; "not rare, I am disposed to 
think. I don't suppose that, in your class, — where ma- 
ternity means nothing in particular to sons, and merely 
chaperonage, or the part of buffer, to ward off paternal 
anger for bills incurred, to daughters, — such characters 
flourish; but in mine they are common enough." — ("A 
little touch of old Harding's Radicalism in that speech, 
by Jove!" thought he to himself.) 



46 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" I don't exactly follow your reference to my class 
as distinct from your own. I suppose we mix amongst 
pretty much the same people, though as individuals we 
nave not met before. But," added Barbara, with a smile, 
" now that that great occurrence has taken place, I don't 
think we need enter into lengthy disquisitions as to the 
charms and duties of maternity; indeed, we will not, for 
I shall ask you to observe the only conditions which I 
require from my, friends." 

" And they are — ?" asked Churchill. 

" Qui! on execute mes ordres, as Louis Napoleon said 
when asked what should be done on the Second of De- 
cember. So long as my commands are obeyed, I am 
amiability itself." 

" And suppose they were disobeyed?" asked Churchill 
again. 

" Then — but I won't tell you what would happen ! 
I don't think you'll ever have the chance of knowing; 
do you think you shall? Not that I like amiable people 
generally — do you? Your blue-eyed girls, with colour- 
less hah like blotting-paper, and — but I forgot I was 
talking to an author. I suppose you're making fun of 
all I say?" 

" On the contrary," said Churchill, struggling to keep 
his gravity, and producing a small memorandum-book, 
" I purpose making a note of that description for use on 
a future occasion. There is a spiteful simplicity in that 
phrase about ' blotting-paper hah' which is really worth 
embalming in a leader." 

" Now I know you're laughing, and I hate to be 
laughed at — " 

" By no means ; I subscribe the roll. I am now one 
of the chncs damnees, sworn to obey the spell of the sor- 
ceress: and the spell is — ?" 

"Nothing. Never mind. You will know easily 
enough when it is once uttered. Now they're coming- 
back to us, and I've lost my glove. Have you seen it? 
How very absurd!" 

As she spo^e, they came up with Lyster and Miss 



" THERE'S NOTHING HALF SO SWEET IN LIFE." 47 

Townshend, who were waiting for them at a gate leading 
into the Grange lands. 

" How slowly you walk, Miss Lexden!" said Lyster; 
"Miss Townshend thought you never would come up 
with us." 

Miss Townshend, with much curl-tossing and laugh- 
ter, declared she had never said any thing of the kind. 

" Quite otherwise," replied Barbara; " from the earnest 
manner in which you were carrying on the conversation, 
there could be no doubt that it was you who were going 
a-head." 

" I ? — I give you my word I was merely talking of 
scenery, and telling Miss Townshend how much I should 
like to show her Rome." 

" And promising, when there, to enter into the spirit 
of the proverb, and do as the Romans — eh, Captain 
Lyster?" 

" Oh, ah, — yes! I see what you mean. That's not 
so bad, eh, Mr. Churchill? You might use that in some 
of your thingummies, eh? Though I don't know that 
there's much difference between Rome and any other 
place, after all. It's rather like London, I think." 

" Is it?" said Churchill. " I confess my short sojourn 
there gave me a very different idea." 

"Well, I don't know; it's mouldier and more tumble- 
down, certainly, but there are some parts of it that are 
uncommonly like the unfinished streets in the new part 
of Belgravia. And people walk about, and eat and drink, 
and flirt, you know, just as they do in town. There's a 
Colosseum at Rome, too, as well as in London, only the 
one in Rome isn't in such good repair." 

This was said in perfect good faith; and the others 
shouted with laughter at it, in the midst of which they 
came to a stile, joining upon the Paddock, and here they 
parted into couples again, only this time Churchill and 
Barbara took the lead. 

" I think she's made another coup," said Lyster, look- 
ing at them, as they immediately fell into earnest conver- 
sation. " She certainly is wonderful, — never misses fire!" 



48 BROKEST TO HARNESS. 

" If I were Barbara, I should be careful about any 
flirtation with Mr. Churchill. They're dreadful people, 
these poets, you know, — at least so I've always heard; 
and if you give them any encouragement, and then won't 
marry them, they cry out, and abuse you terribly in books 
and newspapers." 

" That would be awful!" said Lyster ; " as bad as 
having your letters read out in a breach-of-promise case, 
by Jove ! Never could understand how fellows wrote 
such spoony letters to women, — never could fancy how 
they thought of all the things they said." 

And yet I think, if Captain Lyster had been rigo- 
rously cross-examined, he must needs have confessed 
that he himself had never, throughout the whole course 
of his previous life, gone through so much actual think- 
ing as since he knew Miss Townshend. There was, per- 
haps, no species of flirtation in which he was not an 
adept, for he had sufficient brains to do what he called 
the " talkee-talkee;" while his natural idleness enabled 
him to carry on a silent solitude a deux, and to make 
great play with an occasional elevation of the eyebrow 
or touch of the hand. He had run through a thorough 
course of garrison hacks, and had seen all the best pro- 
duce of the export Indian market; he had met the beau- 
ties of the season at London balls and in country houses, 
and his listlessness and languor had hitherto carried him 
through scot-free. But now he was certainly " fetched," 
as his friends would call it, and began to feel an interest 
in Miss Townshend which he had never felt for any other 
person. There had been a two days' flirtation between 
him and Barbara Lexden; but they were so utterly un- 
suited, that, at the end of that time, they, as it were, 
showed their hands to each other, and then, with a laugh, 
threw up their cards. The flirtation was never renewed; 
but a curious, strange friendship, — exhibited in the con- 
versation about the coming professor, — and always half 
raillery on both sides, existed between them. But " this 
little Townshend girl," as he thought of her in his dreamy 
reveries, was quite another matter; she was so jolly and 



" THERE'S NOTHING HALF SO SWEET IN LIFE." 49 

good-tempered, and so approachable, and never gave her- 
self any airs, and never wanted talking to or that sort 
of thing, but could amuse herself always, as chirpy as a 
bird, by Jove! And these attributes had an immense 
amount of weight with taciturn Fred Lystcr, who, more- 
over, had recently discovered a bald spot about the size 
of a sixpence at the top of his back-parting, and who im- 
mediately perceived imminent age, determined on mar- 
riage, and even thought of making his will. And little 
Miss Townshend walks by his side, and prattles away, 
and laughs, saucily tossing her curls in the air, and is 
as merry as possible; save when, stealing an occasional 
glance from under her hat, she detects her companion's 
eyes very earnestly fixed upon her, and then a serious ex 
pression will settle on her face for an instant, and some- 
thing like a sigh escape her. 

We are a strange race! Here are two couples en- 
gaged in the same pursuit, and yet how different is the 
process! While Lyster is strolling idly by Miss Towns- 
hend's side, and listening to her little nonsense, Churchill 
and Barbara are stepping a-head, thoroughly engrossed 
in their conversation. He is talking now, telling her of 
a German adventure of his; how, with some other stu- 
dents, he made the descent of the Rhine on one of the 
timber-rafts ; how they came to grief just below the Lorely, 
and were all nearly drowned. He tells this with great 
animation and with many gestures, acting out his story, 
as is his wont; and throughout all he has a sensation of 
pleasure as he catches glimpses of her upturned earnest 
face, lighting up at the special bits of the narrative, 
always eager and attentive. His earnestness seems in- 
fectious. She has dropped all her society drawl, all her 
society tricks and byplay, and shows more of the real 
woman than she has for many a day. They talk of Ger- 
many and its literature, of Goethe and Schiller and Heine; 
and he tells her some of those stories of Hoffmann which 
are such special favourites with Biirschcn. Thus they pass 
on to our home poets; and here Barbara is the talker, 
Churchill listening and occasionally commenting. Bar- 

E 



50 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

bara lias read much, and talks well. It is an utter mis- 
take to suppose that women nowadays have what we have 
been accustomed, as a term of reproach, to call "missish" 
taste in books or art. Five minutes' survey of that room 
which Barbara called her own in her aunt's house in 
Gloucester Place would have served to dispel any such 
idea. On the walls were proofs of Leonardo's "Last 
Supper" and Landseer's. " Shoeing the Horse;" a print of 
Delaroche's " Execution of Lady Jane Grey ;" a large 
framed photograph of Gerome's "Death of Csesar;" an old- 
fashioned pencil-sketch of Barbara's father, taken in the 
old days by D'Orsay long before he ever thought of turn- 
ing that pencil to actual use; and a coloured photograph 
— a recent acquisition — of a girl sitting over a wood-fire 
in a dreamy attitude, burning her love-letters, called 
" L' Auto da Fe." On the bookshelves you would have 
found Milton, Thomas a-Kempis, David Copperfield, The 
Christmas Carol, a much-used Tennyson, Keats, George 
Herbert's Poems, Quarles' Emblems, The, Christian Year, 
Carlyle's French Revolution, Dante, Schiller, Faust, Tup- 
per (of course! "and it is merely envy that makes you 
laugh at him," she always said), TJie Neivcomes, and a 
quarto Shakespeare. No French novels, I am glad to say; 
but a fat little Beranger, and a yellow-covered Alfred de 
Musset are on the mantel-piece, while a brass-cross-bear- 
ihg red-edged Prayer-Book lies on the table by the bed. 
Barbara's books were not show-books; they all bore more 
or less the signs of use; but she had read them in a desul- 
tory manner, and had never thoroughly appreciated the 
pleasure to be derived from them. She had never lived 
in a reading set; for when old Miss Lexden had mastered 
the police intelligence and the fashionable news from the 
Post, her intellectual exercises were at an end for the 
day; and her friends were very much of the same calibre. 
So now for the first time Barbara heard literature talked 
of by one who had hitherto made it his worship, and who 
spoke of it with mingled love and reverence — spoke with- 
out lecturing, leading his companion into her fair share 
of the talk, mingling apt quotation with caustic comment 



"there's nothing half so sweet in life." 51 

or enthusiastic eulogy, until they found themselves, to 
Barbara's surprise, at the hall-door. 

I am glad that it is my province as historian to dis- 
course to my readers of the thoughts, impulses, and mo- 
tives influencing the characters in this story, else it would 
be difficult for me to convey so much of their inner life 
as I wish to be known, and which yet would not crop out 
in the course of the action. In writing a full-flavoured 
romance of the sensational order, it is not, perhaps, very 
difficult to imbue your readers with a proper notion of 
your characters' character. The gentleman who hires 
two masked assassins to waylay his brother at the foot 
of the bridge has evidently no undue veneration for the 
Sixth Commandment; while the marchioness who, after 
having only once seen the young artist in black velvet, 
gives him the gold key leading to her secret apartments, 
and makes an assignation with him at midnight, is palp- 
ably not the style of person whom you would prefer as 
governess for your daughters. But in a commonplace 
story of every-day life, touching upon such ordinary topics 
as walks and dinners and butchers' meat, marrying and 
giving in marriage, running into debt, and riding horses 
in Rotten Row,— where (at least, so far as my experience 
serves) you find no such marked outlines of character, 
you must bring to your aid all that quality of work which 
in the sister art is known by the title pre-Raphaelitic, 
and show virtue in the cut of a coat and vice in the ad- 
justment of a cravat. Moreover, we pen-and-ink workers 
have, in such cases, an advantage over our brethren of 
the pencil, inasmuch as we can take our readers by the 
button-hole, and lead them out of the main current of the 
story, showing them our heroes and heroines in deshabille, 
and s through the medium of that window which Vulcan 
wished had been fixed in the human breast — and which 
really is there, for the novelist's inspection — making them 
acquainted with the inmost thoughts and feelings of the 
puppets moving before them. 

When Barbara went to her room that night and sur- 
rendered herself to Parker and the hair-brushes, that pat- 



52 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

tern of ladies'-maids thought that she had never seen her 
mistress so preoccupied since Karl von Knitzler, an at- 
tache of the Austrian Embassy, — who ran for a whole 
season in the ruck of the Lexden's admirers, and at last 
thought he had strength for the first flight, — had received 
his coup de grace. In her wonderment Parker gave two 
or three hardish tugs at the hair which she was manipu- 
lating, but received no rejaroof; for the inside of that 
little head was so busy as to render it almost insensible 
to the outside friction. Barbara was thinking of Mr. 
Churchill — as yet she had not even thought of him by 
his Christian name, scarcely perhaps knew it — and of the 
strange interest which he seemed to have aroused in her. 
The tones of his voice yet seemed ringing in her ears; 
she remembered his warm, earnest manner when speak- 
ing from himself, and the light way in which he fell into 
her tone of jesting badinage. Then, with something like 
a jar, she recollected his suppressed sneer at the differ- 
ence in their " class," and her foot tapped angrily on the 
floor as the recollection rose in her mind. Mingled 
strangely with these were reminiscences of his comely 
head, white, shapely hands, strong figure, and well-made 
boots; of the way in which he sat and walked; of — and 
then, with a start which nearly hurled one of the brushes 
out of Parker's hand, she gathered herself together as she 
felt the whole truth rush upon her, and knew that she 
was thinking too much of the man, and determined that 
she would so think no more. Who was he, living away 
in some obscure region in London, among a set of people 
whom no one knew, leading a life which would not be 
tolerated by any of her friends, to engross her thoughts? 
Between them rolled a gulf, wide and impassable, on the 
brink of which they might indeed stand for a few minutes 
interchanging casual nothings in the course of life's jour- 
ney, but which rendered closer contact impossible. And 
yet — but Barbara determined there should be no " and 
yet;" and with this determination full upon her, she dis- 
missed Parker and fell asleep. 

And Churchill — what of him? Alas, regardless of 



" there's nothing half so sweet in life." 53 

his doom, that little victim played ! When old Marma- 
duke gave the signal for retiring, Churchill would not, 
on this night, follow the other men into the smoking- 
room. The politics, the ribaldry, the scandal, the horsey- 
doggy talk, would be all more intolerable than ever; he 
wanted to be alone, to go through that process, so famil- 
iar to him on all difficult occasions, of "thinking it out;" 
so he told Gumble to take a bottle of claret to his room, 
and, arrived there, he lit his old meerschaum, and leant 
out of the window gazing over the distant moonlit park. 
But this time the "thinking it out" failed dismally; amid 
the white smoke-wreaths curling before him rose a tall, 
slight graceful figure; in his ear yet lingered the sound 
of a clear low voice; his hand yet retained the thrill 
which ran through him as she touched it in wishing 
him " good night." He thought of her as he had never 
thought of woman before, and he gloried in the thought : 
he was no love-sick boy, to waste in fond despair, and 
sicken in his longing; he was a strong, healthy man, 
with a faultless digestion, an earnest will, a clear con- 
science, and a heart thinking no guile. There was the 
difference in the rank, certainly — and in connexion with 
this reflection a grim smile crossed his face as he remem- 
bered Harding, and his caution about "swells" — but 
what of that ? Did not good education, and a life that 
would bear scrutiny, lift a man to any rank ? and would 
not she — and then he drew from his pocket a dainty, 
pearl-gray glove (Jouvin's two-buttoned, letter B), and 
pressed it to his lips. It ivas silly, ladies and gentle- 
men, I admit; but then, you know, it never happened 
to any of us; and though "the court, the camp, the 
grove" suffer, we have the pleasure of thinking that the 
senate, the bar, the commerce of England, and the public 
press, always escape scot-free. 



Breakfast at Bissett Grange lasted from nine — at 
the striking of which hour old Sir Marmaduke entered 
the room, and immediately rang the bell for a huge 



54 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

smoking bowl of oatmeal porridge, his invariable matu- 
tinal meal — until twelve; by which time the laziest of 
the guests had generally progressed from Yorkshire-pie, 
through bacon, eggs, and Finnan haddies, down to toast 
and marmalade, and were sufficiently refected. Barbara 
was always one of the last; she was specially late on the 
morning after the talk just described; and on her arrival 
in the breakfast-room found only Mr. and Mrs. Vincent, 
who always lingered fondly over their meals, and who, 
so long as the cloth remained on the table, sat pecking 
and nibbling, like a couple of old sparrows, at the dishes 
within reach of them; Captain Lyster, who between his 
sips of coffee was dipping into Bell's Life; and Sir Mar- 
maduke himself, who had returned from a brisk walk 
round the grounds and the stables and the farm, and 
was deep in the columns of the Times. But, to her 
astonishment, the place at table next hers had evidently 
not yet been occupied. The solid white breakfast-set 
was unused, the knives and forks were unsoiled; and 
yet Mr. Churchill, who had hitherto occupied that place, 
had usually finished his meal and departed before Bar- 
bara arrived. This morning, however, was clearly an 
exception ; he had not yet breakfasted, for by his plate 
lay three unopened letters addressed to him. Barbara 
noticed this — noticed moreover that the top letter, in a 
long shiny pink envelope, was addressed in a scrawly, 
unmistakably female hand, and had been redirected in a 
larger, bolder writing. As she seated herself, with her 
eyes, it must be confessed, on this dainty missive, the 
door opened, and Churchill entered. After a general 
salutation, he was beginning a half-laughing apology for 
his lateness as he sat down, when his eye lit on ihe pink 
envelope. He changed colour slightly; then, before 
commencing his breakfast, took up his letters and placed 
them in the breast-pocket of his shooting-coat. 

" This is horrible. Miss Lexden," he said, " bringing 
these dreadful hours into the country; here — where you 
should enjoy the breezy call of incense-breathing morn, 
the cock's shrill clarion, and all the rest of it — to come 



" THERE'S nothing hale so sweet in life." 55 

down to your breakfast just when the bucolic mind is 
pondering on the immediate advent of its dinner." 

" Be good enough to include yourself in this sweep- 
ing censure, Mr. Churchill," said Barbara. " I was down 
before you; but I accepted my position, nor, however late 
I might have been, should I have attempted — " 

" I congratulate you, sir," interrupted Mr. Vincent, 
dallying with a lump of marmalade on a wedge of toast, 
— "I congratulate you, Mr. Churchill, on a prudence 
which but few men of your age possess." 

" You are very good, but I scarcely follow you." 

" I saw you — I saw you put away your letters until 
after breakfast. A great stroke that ! Men generally 
are so eager to get at their letters, that they plunge into 
them at once, before meals, little thinking that the con- 
tents may have horrible influence on their digestion." 

" I am sorry to say that I was influenced by no such 
sanitary precautions. My correspondence will keep; and 
I have yet to learn that to read letters in the presence 
of ladies is — " 

" Pray, make no apologies, as far as I am concerned," 
said Barbara, with a curl of her lip and an expansion of 
nostril; "if you have any wish to read your doubtless 
important correspondence — " 

" I have no such wish, Miss Lexden. Litera serif ta 
manet ; which, being interpreted, means, my letters will 
keep. And now, Mr. Vincent, I'll trouble you for a skil- 
ful help of that game-pie." 

Churchill remained firm ; he was still at breakfast, 
and his letters remained unopened in his pocket, when 
Barbara left the room to prepare for a drive with Miss 
Townshend. As they reentered the avenue after a two 
hours' turn round the Downs, they met Captain Lyster 
in a dog-cart. 

" I have been over to Brighton," he explained; "drove 
Churchill to the station. He got some news this morn- 
ing, and is obliged to run up to town for a day or two. 
But he's coming back, Miss Lexden." 

" Is he, indeed !" said Barbara. "What splendid in- 



56 _ BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

telligence! I should think, Captain Lyster, that, since 
the announcement of the fall of Sebastopol, England has 
scarcely heard such glorious news as that Mr. Churchill 
is coming back to Bissett." And, with a clear, ringing 
laugh, she pulled the ponies short up at the hall-door, 
jumped from the carriage, and passed to her room. 

" She don't like his going, all the same, — give you 
my word," said Lyster, simply, to Miss Townshend. 

And she did not. She coupled his sudden departure 
with the receipt of that pink envelope and the address 
in the feminine scrawl. Who was the writer of that let- 
ter ? What could the business be to take him away so 
hastily? With her head leaning on her hand, she sits 
before her dressing-table pondering these things. It 
certainly was a woman's writing. Is this quiet, sedate, 
self-possessed man a flirt ? Does he carry on a corres- 
pondence with — And if he does, what is it to her? She 
is nothing to him — and yet — who can it be? It was a 
woman's hand ! She wonders where he is at that mo- 
ment ; she would like to see him just for an instant. 

If she could have had her wish, she would have seen 
him by himself in a railway-carriage, an unheeded Times 
lying across his knee, and in his hand a little pearl-gray 
kid-glove. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE COMMISSIONER'S SHELL EXPLODES. 

When the party assembled for dinner on the day of Mr. 
Churchill's hurried departure from the Grange, they found 
they had an addition in the person of Mr. Commissioner 
Beresford, who arrived late in the afternoon, and did not 
make his appearance until dinner-time. A man of mid- 
dle height and dapper figure, always faultlessly dressed; 
slightly bald, but with his light-coloured hair well ar- 
ranged over his large forehead; with deep-sunk, small, 
stony-gray eyes, a nose with the nostrils scarcely suffi- 
ciently covered, and a large mouth, with long white teeth. 
He had small white— dead- white — hands, with filbert 
nails, and very small feet. There was in the normal and 
ordinary expression of his face something sour and mor- 
dant, which, so far as his eyes were concerned, occasion- 
ally faded out in conversation, giving place to a quaint, 
comic look; but the mouth never changed; it was always 
fox-like, cruel, and bad. There was no better-known man 
in London; high and low, rich and poor, gentle and sim- 
ple, all had heard of Charley Beresford. Citizen of the 
world, where was he out of place? When there was a 
tight wedge on the staircase of Protocol House on the 
Saturday nights when Lady Helmsman received; when 
at a foot-pace the fashionable world endured hours of 
martyrdom in procession to the shrine which, once 
reached, was passed in an instant, according as sole 
trophy the reminiscence of a bow, — Mr. Beresford was 
to be seen leaning over the stoutest of dowagers, and 
looking fresh and undrooping even when pressed upon 
by the pursiest of diplomatists. When the noble souls 



58 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

of the Body Guards were dismayed within, the huge car- 
casses which contained them because it was whispered 
that the 180th Hussars intended to wear white hats on 
their drag to the Derby, and to deck their persons and 
their horses with blue rosettes — both which insignia had 
hitherto been distinctive of the Body Guards — it was 
Charley Beresford who was applied to on the emergency; 
and who, on the Derby morning, turned the tables com- 
pletely by bringing the Body Guards from Limmer's 
straw-thatched and amber-rosetted to a man. The 180th 
and their blue were nowhere; and "Go it, yaller!" and 
" Brayvo, Dunstable !" were the cries all down the road. 
"When Mr. Peter Plethoric, the humorous comedian of 
the Nonpareil Theatre, wanted some special patronage 
for his benefit, " Charley, dear boy!" was his connecting 
link with that aristocracy whose suffrages he sought. He 
went into every phase of society: he had an aunt the 
widow of a cabinet minister, who lived in Eaton Square; 
and an uncle a bishop, who lived in Seamore Place ; and 
he dined with them regularly two or three times in the 
season, lighting his cigar within a few yards of the house, 
and quietly strolling down to the Argyll Eooms, or to 
the green-room of the theatre, or to the parlour of a 
sporting-public to get the latest odds on a forthcoming 
fight. He turned up his coat-collar of late when he 
visited these last-named places, and the pugilistic land- 
lords had orders never to pronounce his name, but to 
call him " Guv'nor;" it would not do for an official high 
in her Majesty's service to be recognised in such quarters. 
Before his aristocratic friends obtained for him his com- 
missionership, his name was one of the most common 
current amongst the Fancy; but since then he had 
eschewed actual presence at the ring, as he had blue 
bird's-eye handkerchiefs, cigars in the daylight, and nod- 
ding acquaintance with broughams in the park. "II 
faut se ranger," he used to say; "it would never do for 
those young fellows down at the Office to think that I 
was or ever had been a fast lot; and those confounded 
Radical papers, they made row enough about the appoint- 



THE COMMISSIONER'S SHELL EXPLODES. 59 

merit, and they'll always be on the look-out to catch me 
tripping." He little knew that his fame had preceded 
him to the Tin-Tax Office; that all the old clerks were 
prepared to receive him with something between fear 
and disgust, all the young ones with unmingled admira- 
tion; that daily bulletins of his dress and manners were 
circulated amongst the juniors, and that those who could 
afford it dressed at him to a man. 

He was four-and-thirty when he got his appointment, 
and he had held it about two years. There was even 
betting that the promotion would "go in the office;" 
that Mr. Simnel, the secretary, a very clever man, would 
get it ; that the vacancy would not be filled up ; and 
various other rumours. But the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer felt that Mr. Simnel had been going a little too 
much ahead lately, acting on his own responsibility; and 
as the widow of the cabinet minister (who owned a bo- 
rough in Devonshire) and the bishop concurrently at- 
tacked the Premier, that nobleman gave way, and Charles 
Beresford exchanged the dreariness of Bruges, in which 
dull Belgian city of refuge he had been for some months 
located, for a seat in the board-room at Rutland House. 
His uncle and aunt, through their respective solicitors, 
bought up his outstanding debts, and settled them at a 
comparatively low rate (his Oxford ticks had been settled 
years ago out of his mother's income) ; and he came into 
a thousand a year, paid quarterly, free and unencumbered. 
A thousand a year, in four cheques on the Bank of Eng- 
land in January, April, July, and October, ought to be 
a sufficiency for an unmarried man; but with Charles 
Beresford, as with a good many of us, the mere fact of 
the possession of money gave rise to a wild desire for 
rushing into unlimited expense. To belong to three 
clubs — the Beauclerk in Pall Mall, aristocratic and ex- 
clusive ; the Minerva (proposed thereat by the bishop), 
literary and solemn; the Haresfoot, late and theatrical; 
— to have capital rooms in South Audley Street; to keep 
a mail-phaeton and pair, with a saddle-horse and a hunter 
during the season; to give and join in Greenwich and 



60 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

Richmond dinners; to be generous in the matter of kid- 
gloves and jewelry; to have a taste (and to gratify it) in 
choice wines; to make a yearly excursion to Baden, and 
when there to worship extensively at the shrine of M. 
Benazet; to be a connoisseur in art, and a buyer of proofs 
before letters, and statuary, and tapestry, and antiques; 
to be miserable without the possession of an Opera-stall; 
all these vagaries, though pleasant, are undeniably ex- 
pensive ; and at the end of his second year of office 
Charles Beresford found that he had spent every farthing 
of his income, and owed, in addition, between three and 
four thousand pounds. 

He could not compound with his creditors; he dared 
not go through the Court, for " those rascally papers" 
would then have been down on him at once, and his 
official appointment might have been sacrificed. The 
Government just then had two or three black sheep, 
about whom people had talked, among their subordi- 
nates; and Beresford might have been the Jonah, sacri- 
ficed to allay the storm of virtuous public indignation. 
Besides, though his great soul might have been won over 
to include in his schedule Messrs. Sams and Mitchell, Mr. 
Stecknadel, the tailor of Conduit Street, and Hocks, with 
whom his horses stood at livery, he could not inscribe 
the names of the Irrevocable Insurance Company, to 
whom for the money borrowed he had given the names 
of two substantial friends as sureties; or of Mr. Parkin- 
son, solicitor, of Thavies Inn, who " did his paper," but 
required another signature on the back. So Mr. Charles 
Beresford was forced to confess himself " done up," " cor- 
nered," and " tree'd ;" and only saw one way out of his 
difficulties — a good marriage. There was no reason why 
his final chance should not succeed, for he was a very 
pleasant, agreeable fellow when he chose; had a capital 
tenor voice, and sang French and German songs with 
sparkling effect and irreproachable accent; acted well in 
charade ; talked all sorts of styles, — could be earnest, pro- 
found, sentimental, flippant, literary, or ribald, as occa- 
sion presented; waltzed with a gliding, long, swinging 



THE COMMISSIONER'S SHELL EXPLODES. Gl 

step, which was the envy of all the men who saw him; 
was sufficiently good-looking, and had something like a 
position to offer. 

Behold, him, then, seated at Sir Marmaduke's table 
next to Miss Townshend, and with Barbara Lexden im- 
mediately opposite to him. He has been rattling on 
pleasantly enough during dinner, but has never for- 
gotten the object of his life; he is aware that Barbara 
for him is not an available parti, with position certainly, 
but without money, and with extravagant notions; but 
he has some recollection of having heard that Mr. Towns- 
hend was something approaching to a millionnaire, and 
he determined to satisfy himself upon the point without 
delay. 

" Not at all," he says, referring to something that 
has gone before; " not at all. It's all very well for you, 
Sir Marmaduke, whose lines have been cast in pleasant 
places, to talk so; but for us poor fellows who have to 
work for our living, this rest is something delightful." 

" Work for your living!" growls out the old gentle- 
man. "A pack of lazy placemen. Egad! the fellow talks 
as though stone-breaking were his occupation, and he'd 
just straightened his back for five minutes. Work for 
your living! Do you call sticking your initial to the cor- 
ner of a lot of figures that you've never read, work? Do 
you call scrawling your signature at the bottom of some 
nonsensical document, to prove that you're the ' obedient, 
humble servant,' of some idiot whom you've never seen, 
work? Do you call reading the — " 

" Now stop, Sir Marmaduke," said Beresford, laughing; 
" I bar you there. You mustn't repeat that rococo old 
rubbish about reading the newspaper and poking the fire 
as the sole work in a Government office. That is slander." 

" I am bound to say," said Mr. Townshend pompously, 
" that when, in my capacity either as one of the directors 
of the East-India Company, or Prime Warden of the Bottle 
Blowers' Company, I have ever had occasion to transact 
business with any of the Government establishments, I 
have always found myself well treated." 



62 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" I am delighted to hear such testimony from you, 
sir," said Beresford, with some apparent deference, and 
inwardly thinking that the two positions named looked 
healthy as regards money. 

" God bless my soul !" bawled Sir Marmaduke. " Here's 
a man drives up in a big carriage, with a powdered-headed 
jackass to let down the steps, and then he ' testifies' that 
he gets a messenger to take in his name and that he isn't 
insulted by the clerks. I wish with all my heart, Towns- 
hend, that you were a poor man with a patent to bring 
out, or a grievance to complain of, or an inquiry to make, 
and you'd devilish soon see the reception you'd get." 

" I hear," said Mr. Vincent, with a mind to turn the 
conversation, " that a new system of refreshment-supply 
has recently been introduced into some of our public de- 
partments. I have a nephew in the Draft-and-Docket 
Office, whom I called upon about one o'clock the other 
day, and I found him engagad upon some very excellent 
cotelettes cb la Soubise, which he told me were prepared in 
the establishment. That appears to me a most admirable 
arrangement." 

« Yery admirable," growled Sir Marmaduke, " for the 
public, who are paying the young ruffians for eating their 
Frenchified rubbish. By heavens ! a clerk at ninety pounds 
a year, and a made-dish for lunch!" 

" Quite right, Mr. Townshend," said Stone ; " they 
feed stunningly now, and don't drink badly either. By 
the way, Beresford, I'm agent for G-oupil's house at Bor- 
deaux, and I could put in a capital cheap claret into your 
place, just the thing for your fellows in the hot weather. 
The tenders are out now, and a word from you would 
serve me." 

" But, surely," said Barbara, laughing, " if, as Sir 
Marmaduke says, you don't work now, Mr. Beresford, 
you'll be less inclined than ever after M. Goupil's claret." 

" Sir Marmaduke is an infidel, Miss Lexden," said 
Charley. " Send in your tender, Stone, and Goupil's 
Medoc shall be a fresh incentive to the virtuous Civil 
Servants!" 



THE COMMISSIONER'S SHELL EXPLODES. 63 

" Let him rave, my dear!" said Sir Marmaduke; "let 
hint rave, as your idol Mr. Tennyson says. What he calls 
work, I call make-believe humbug. "What I call work, is 
what my godson — what's his name — Churchill (what the 
deuce has he gone away for?) does, night after night, 
grinding his headpiece — that sort of thing." 

" What Churchill is that, sir?" asked Charley. 

" Mr. Churchill is a literary man, I believe," said Miss 
Townshend; "wonderfully clever — writes, you know, and 
all that." 

" Oh, Frank Churchill! I know him," replied Beres- 
ford. " Has he been down here?" 

" Yes; he only left this morning." 

" He seems a very good sort of fellow," said Lyster 
generously, for he didn't quite like the tone of Beresford's 
voice, and did not at all like the manner in which the 
Commissioner was paying quiet attention to Miss Towns- 
hend. " He's made himself a general favourite in a very 
short time." 

" Yes, that he has," said Miss Townshend; " he's very 
clever, and not at all conceited, and — oh! he's so nice." 

Barbara said nothing. 

" I had a few words with him about the money-article 
yesterday," said Mr. Townshend; "but I must say his 
views were scarcely so defined as I could have wished." 

Beresford had listened attentively to these remarks. 
He thought he perceived a certain tendresse in Miss 
Townshend's manner of speaking of Churchill, which 
did not at all accord with his present views. So he said, 

"Xo, Mr. Townshend; that's not Churchill's peculiar 
line. He's a poor man, though, as you say, Miss Towns- 
hend, a clever one. And he has some object in working 
hard, for he's going to be married." 

" To be married?" exclaimed Miss Townshend, look- 
ing across at Barbara. 

" To be married?" exclaimed Barbara, flushing scar- 
let. The next instant she turned deadly cold, and could 
have bitten her tongue out for having spoken. 

"Well, well!" said old Miss Lexden, who up to this 



64 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

time had been engaged in a confidential culinary chat 
with Mrs. Vincent; " that's always the way. Poor thing! 
I pity the young woman. These sort of persons always 
stay out all night, and ill-treat their wives, and all that 
kind of thing." 

" Dear, dear !" said Mrs. Vincent ; " leg-of-mutton 
menage and batter-pudding, perhaps ; no soup or fish. 
Dear, dear ! what unwholesome things these love-mar- 



riages are!" 



" But nobody said that it is a love match," said Miss 
Townshend. " Perhaps the lady is an heiress, whom Mr. 
Churchill has captivated by his talent." 

" Yes," growled Sir Marmaduke, with a sardonic grin; 
" an heiress who has been struck with his articles on the 
Reformatory question, or has become completely dazzled 
by the lucidity of his views on the Maynooth Grant. A 
leader-writer in a daily newspaper is just the romantic 
youth that heiresses fall in love with." 

" Now do be quiet, Sir Marmaduke, with your horrid 
sarcasm, and let us hear what the lady is like. Do tell 
us, Mr. Beresford," said Miss Townshend. 

" Oh, I have no idea of her personal appearance," re- 
plied Beresford. " Every body says she's very nice, and 
that the marriage is coming off at once — that's all I 
know." 

" Your curiosity will soon be gratified, with a very 
little trouble," interrupted Lyster. "You can ask Mr. 
Churchill himself — he's coming back to-morrow." 

" Coming back!" exclaimed Beresford. 

" Yes, to-morrow," replied Lyster, and added, between 
his teeth, " your little plot will soon be spoilt, my boy." 

Shortly afterwards, when the ladies left the table, 
Barbara did not accompany the rest, but went straight 
to her own room. There she seated herself at the open 
window, which looked out upon the lawn and upon the 
high downs beyond, over which the yellow-faced moon 
was rising in solemn beauty. And Barbara nestled into 
the great easy-chair, which she had pulled forward, and 
rested her chin on her hand, and looked upon the grand 



THI'I ('OJDriSSIOXEH'S SKULL KXPLODES. 65 

picture of varied light and shade with eyes that saw no- 
thing of the beauty, and with a heart that comprehended 
it not. Down in the hollow lay a little farm, gray and 
cold and stony, as are such buildings in Sussex, and con- 
taining at that time a sleeping, snoring family; for the 
farmer, a thrifty man, had to be up betimes, and candle- 
light might as well be spared, and hard-working folk 
must rest. He did not think much about the moon, this 
Sussex farmer, nor did his hinds, two of whom were then 
snoring in the red-tiled barn just on the shoulder of yon 
hill ; but the glorious lamp of night was as much in their 
thoughts as she was in those of Barbara Lexden, who had 
copied out " The moon is up, by Heaven ! a lovely eve," 
from CMMe Harold, and knew Alfred de Musset's wild 
lines on the same subject by heart, and had gone in for 
the romantic business about it, and done some very effec- 
tive bits of flirtation, in which the goddess Luna was 
made good use of. But the moon was nothing now to 
Barbara, whose mind was full of a far more worldly ob- 
ject, and whose foot was tapping impatiently on the floor. 
Going to be married? Then it was all accounted for — 
that letter with the feminine griffe, which he had pocketed 
immediately and read apart, and his hurried departure for 
town. Going to be married! What business had he, then, 
to come down there, and talk and act as though no en- 
gagement fettered him — to talk, indeed, as though no 
notion of matrimony had ever crossed his mind? Could 
he — ? Xo; that was impossible. He could not have 
been playing with her — making a fool of her? What 
was that he had said about difference of class in mar- 
riage? Ay, that settled the question ; the fiancee was 
probably some dowdy woman, who could make a pie, and 
mend his clothes, and keep their maid-of-all-work in or- 
der. Well, the man was nothing to her — but she hoped 
he might be happy. It was getting very dull at Bissett, 
and she should suggest their departure to her aunt. They 
had invitations for several nice houses ; and General 
Mainwaring's was not far off, and Boyce Combe was 
there, and Harvey Grenville; so that she should be sure 

p 



6G BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

of plenty of fun. She had not seen Boyce Combe since 
the last Woolwich ball, and then he had been so horribly 
absurd, and had talked such ridiculous nonsense. He 
was so amusing, Major Combe; and — and then Major 
Combe's handsome, vacuous, simpering countenance, 
which for a moment had risen in Barbara's mind, fa- 
ded again, and in its place there came a genial, clever, 
sensible face, with merry eyes and laughing mouth, and 
Major Combe's " ridiculous nonsense" seemed wretched 
balderdash as contrasted with Frank Churchill's pleasant 
talk. 

A knock at the door, following which promptly little 
Miss Townshend glides into the room. A nice little girl, 
as I have remarked; a charming little being, bright and 
winning, but not the sort of person for a companion when 
one is in that state so well described as "out of sorts." 
Who, I wonder, is pleasant company for us in a real or 
fancied trouble? Certainly not the enthusiastic gusher 
who flings his or herself upon our necks, and insists upon 
sharing our sorrow, — which is a thorough impossibility. 
Certainly not the pseudo-moralist who tells us that all is 
for the best, and quotes Scripture, and suggests that, 
though we hare had to retire from Palace Gardens and 
live in Bedford Row, there are many outcasts then sleep- 
ing on the steps of Whitechapel Church; and that, though 
our darling's life may be trembling in the balance, there 
are fever-courts and pestilence-alleys, in no house of which 
" there is not one dead." Certainly not the lively friend 
who thinks that " rallying" is the best course for binding 
the broken heart and setting at rest the perturbed spirit, 
and who accordingly indulges in one perpetual efferves- 
cence of mild sarcasm and feeble teasing. Miss Towns- 
hend belonged to this latter class; and entered the room 
with a little skip and a long slide, which brought her to 
Barbara's side. 

"Oh, ho! and so we're annoyed, are we, and won't 
come among our friends? We sit and sulk by ourselves, 
do we?" 

" I cannot possibly imagine what you mean, Alice," 



THE COintTSSIOXEU'S SHELL EXPLODES. G7 

said Barbara coldly. " Take care, please; you're standing 
on ray dress." 

" Oh, of course not, poor darling, she can't imagine! 
But, without any joking, Barbara, it is too bad." 

" What is too bad, Alice?" asked Barbara, without 
moving a muscle. She had a tremendous power over her 
face, and, when she chose, looked as impassible as the 
Sphynx, " staring straight on with calm eternal eyes." 

" Now, don't be silly, Barbara clear," exclaimed Miss 
Townshend, who was getting rather annoyed because her 
friend had not gone off into hysterics. " You know well 
enough what I mean ; and it is a shame, a horrible 
shame ! Who would have thought that that learned 
clever man could have been such an incorrigible flirt? 
There now," putting up her hands, " you know perfectly 
well who I mean. And he did carry on with you in the 
most shameful manner — and going to be married all the 
time ! Not that I'm sure you're not rightly served, Bar- 
bara. It's just the sort of thing you've been doing all 
your life, you know; but, still, one doesn't expect it in 
a man, does one, dear? I wonder — " 

" / wonder when you'll have common sense, Alice. 
It's time, if what you told me this morning be true." 

" Barbara darling! Barbara! don't remind me 
of it. Oh, how miserable you've made me! And you — 
yon don't care one pin, when you know I'm so wretched.' 
And putting her handkerchief to her eyes, little Miss 
Townshend hurried out of the room. 

And what of the girl who " didn't care one pin" ? 
who had just been rallied upon having been made a fool 
of by a man — a man, moreover, for whom every hour of 
her life proved to her that she cared? Pride, love, vexa- 
tion, doubt, — all these had influence on that throbbing 
heart; and she flung herself on her bed in a flood of 
tears. 



CHAPTER YII. 

TOUCHING A PROPOSAL. 

When Captain Lyster rose on the following morning, he 
had made up his mind to the commission of a very 
serious deed. A long course of reflection as he lay 
awake in the watches of the night, and the discovery, 
real or imaginary, of a further dimmution of hair on the 
crown of his head, had determined him upon asking 
Miss Townshend to become his wife without any further 
delay. There was something in her fresh, cheery, 
pleasant manner that specially appealed to this blase 
cynic; she was so tinlike the women he had been accus- 
tomed to mix with in society, who were generally weak 
imitations of Barbara Lexden, or opinionless misses, who 
held "yca' s and "nay" to lie the sole ingredients neces- 
sary in their conversation ; in fact, this chattering girl, 
who said every thing uppermost in her mind, who had 
capital spirits perennially flowing, and who was natural 
without being either arrogant or " miss-ish," had com- 
pletely enslaved him. He might have pottered on in 
silent admiration for some time longer, but that he had 
been greatly annoyed by Beresford's manner to Miss 
Townshend on the preceding evening ; there was some- 
thing in the Commissioner's easy familiarity, both during 
dinner and afterwards, which signally raised Lyster's 
wrath. He had towards Beresford that singular feeling, 
that compound of distrust, detestation, contempt, and 
fear, which we experience instinctively for any rival; 
and his love for this girl was far too serious a matter to 
permit any tampering with his plans. A good fellow, 
Pred Lyster; a kind-hearted, straightforward, honour- 



toukjxc; a rnoro.sAL. 69 

able man, with very little guile; lazy, to a certain extent 
selfish, and considerably spoilt; but with an innate sense 
of right carrying him through many difficulties, and 
with a stout heart and a clear brain to support him 
under any trials. 

He loved this girl, and he wanted to know whether 
his love was returned. To get at this information he 
saw but one way — a proposal. I have before said that 
he knew every trick and turn of flirtation; but this was 
something of far deeper import than a flirtation; means 
which he had previously used to ascertain "how he 
stood" with the temporary object of his affections, and 
which had elicited the satisfactory glance, hand-pressure, 
or word, he would have now deemed degrading both to 
himself and to her. His regard for her had been grow- 
ing throughout the past season, and was rapidly culmi- 
nating. He had watched her attentively, and studied 
all her movements, with a satisfactory result. He felt 
that she was a little fast, certainly; but that fastness he 
was convinced resulted from the mere overflow of animal 
spirits, and not from any desire to please in men's eyes 
by affectation of men's ways. That she was an heiress 
he didn't care one bit about — he had plenty for both; 
and if she came to him, any thing that she had should 
be settled on herself. But how to ask her? Ah, how 
long did that pair of hair-brushes remain suspended over 
his head, while he gazed vacantly into the dressing-glass 
before him as this question rose in his mind! How 
often did he fling himself on the ottoman, nursing his 
foot and biting his lip in a perplexity of doubt! He 
could not go down on his knees, and offer his hand and 
heart, as they did on the stage ; he could not write to 
her, either formally or spasmodically — he had a whole- 
some horror of committing himself on paper; he could 
not arrive at the knowledge he required through any 
third person; in fact (here the hair-brushes went to work 
again), there was no way but to take advantage of an 
opportunity, and propose. He must know his position, 
too, at once. He could not bear to see that fellow 



70 BKOKEX TO HARNESS. 

Beresford hanging about her as he had been the pre- 
vious night. He'd do it that very day. His whole 
frame, which had been pleasantly cooled by his shower- 
bath, tingled again at the mere thought ; and a faint 
empty feeling, something like that which he experienced 
when insulted in the Engineers' mess-room at Salem by 
Poker Cassidy, came over him. Would he get as well 
out of this as out of that encounter? Then he held his 
own ; and Cassidy, neatly drilled by a pistol-bullet 
through his ankle, limps with a crutch to this day. 
But this was a very different matter. 

It was a dull breakfast that morning. Barbara sent 
down intelligence of a headache, and remained in her 
room; Miss Townshend had red rims to her pretty eyes, 
had no smile for any one, looked miserable, and sat 
silent; her papa had donned his very stiffest check 
cravat, and was, if possible, more pompous than usual; 
Sir Marmaduke had had his porridge early, had gone 
out, and not returned; old Miss Lexden always break- 
fasted in bed ; and Mr. and Mrs. Vincent were utterly 
upset by a burnt omelette, about which they conveyed 
dismay to each other by eye-brow telegraph across the 
table. Only Major Stone was himself; and he bustled 
about, and made tea, and passed dishes, and joked and 
rallied in a way that ought to have been of service, but 
which signally failed. When Mr. Beresford entered the 
room, which was not until nearly all the others had 
finished their meal, he seemed for a few moments stag- 
gered by the gravity of the assemblage ; but gliding into 
a vacant seat by Miss Townshencl's side, he soon re- 
covered his spirits, and commenced a conversation in 
his accustomed bantering tone. His neighbour seemed 
to brighten at once, and responded in hei usual cheery 
manner, greatly to the disgust of poor Fred Ly«ter, 
sitting opposite, who, over his cold partridge, was still 
hard at work on the same problem which had occupied 
him when over his hair-brushes, and who knew as little 
Slow to attain his end as ever. He was glad when he 
heard Beresford say that business would require him to 



TOTJCHIXG A PEOl'O.SAL. 71 

ride into Brighton before luncheon, and that he must 
afterwards go round to the stables and see whether his 
hack was all right after her journey down. Hiw joy 
toned down a little when Miss Townshcnd asked if said 
hack had ever carried a lady, but rose again when Bercs- 
ford declared that he should be sorry to see any female 
friend of his on G-ulnare's back. 

"It isn't that she's vicious," he explained; "there's 
not an ounce of vice in her. But there are so many 
things she can't bear — dirty children, and puddles, and 
stone heaps in the road; and when she sees any of these 
she stands bolt upright for two minutes on her hind- 
legs, and then starts off with her head between her fore- 
legs, and nearly pulls your arms out of their sockets." 

So Miss Townshend declared with much laughter, 
and with many shoulder-shrugs and exclamations of 
fright, that she could never think of mounting " any 
thing so dreadful;" and Lyster, to his immense delight, 
saw Beresford leave the room, light a big cigar on the 
steps, and clear off in the direction of the stables. Stone 
had already departed on his various errands; Mrs. Vin- 
cent had fetched a cookery-book from the library, and 
with her husband had retired to study it in the embra- 
sure of the window; and Miss Townshend, left the last 
at table, was playing with a fragment of toast. Lyster 
knew her habits — knew that she was in the habit of 
skimming the Post to learn the whereabouts of her 
friends; and accordingly retreated quietly to the library. 

Such a pleasant room, this ! Not a bit of the wall to 
be seen for the dark oak book- shelves, which, crammed 
with books, extended from floor to ceiling on every side. 
A capital collection of books, in sober calf bindings (Sir 
Marmaduke once said that brilliant bindings and glazed 
book-cases always reminded him of a man with his hair 
parted down the middle, and could not understand what 
Barbara meant by asking him if Mrs. Niekleby had been 
a Wcntworth): theology, politics, books of refercnc6 v 
poetry, drama, and history, all regularly ranged and 
properly catalogued. Fiction had a very moderate com- 



72 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

partment allotted to it ; but the round table in the mid- 
dle of the room, and the ottoman at the far end, were 
liberally strewn with volumes bearing the omnipresent 
yellow ticket of Mudie. Immediately in front of the 
big bow-window, which was shaded by a sun-blind, and 
through which you gazed over a lovely expanse of down, 
stood a huge writing-table, on which was an inkstand that 
might have held half a pint, a large blotting-pad, an 
oxyclised-silver owl with ruby eyes erect on a paper- 
weight, and a bundle of quill pens, half split up, and all 
very much bitten at the tops ; for Sir Marmaduke, who 
was the principle occupant of the cane writing-chair, was 
apt to get very energetic in his correspondence. Here, 
too, the old gentleman indulged in the one literary occu- 
pation of his life — certain translations of Horace, which 
he altered and polished year after year, intending some 
time or other to show them to an old college friend, and 
then have a gorgeous edition printed on toned paper for 
private circulation. Here, in a huge iron safe, were kept 
big ledgers, and account-books of rents, rates, and ex- 
penditure on the estate, which gave three days' solemn 
investigation every quarter to Sir Marmaduke and Major 
Stone ; whereat there was much head-rubbing, many 
appealing looks to the ceiling, and much secret checking 
of fingers under the table, and reference to a ready-reck- 
oner on the part of both gentlemen. And here in a 
secret draw of the writing-table, lay a little packet, which 
the old man would take out occasionally, would open, 
and sit gazing for half an hour together at the contents. 
They were not much, — a faded blue ribbon, once worn, 
with a little locket attached to it, round the throat of 
his old love at the Bath Assemblies, where he first met 
her ; a curl of hair, cut from her head after death : and 
an ivory miniature, by Stump, of a dark girl, with big- 
brown eyes, and her hair banded tight to her forehead, 
and gathered into a large bow at the top of the head. 
After an inspection of this drawer the old gentleman would 
walk to the looking-glass, and glaring at his own reflection 
therein, would shake his head in a very solemn manner ; 



TOUCULNU A PROPOSAL. 7 3 

he would be Tory mild mid quiet, and, as Gamble noticed, 
would drink an extra bottle of claret during the evening. 

When Lyster entered the room, he was annoyed to 
see that it was occupied. Old Mr. Eussell, the lawyer, 
was at the writing-table ; and Mr. Townshend was seated 
in an easy-chair close by, listening to the narration of 
some thick parchment deed which the lawyer was going 
through. Their business was apparently at an end, 
though; for Mr. Townshend said, "Then it's satisfactory, 
Mr. Eussell ?" to which the old gentleman, with nothing 
but his finger-tips visible below his cuffs, replied, "I 
think we may assume so ;" and both gentlemen rose and 
left the room. Being in a highly nervous state, Lyster 
did not like these proceedings a bit. He wondered what 
that portentous-looking parchment was about — whether 
it had any reference to old Townshend's testamentary 
disposition ; whether it had any thing to do with Miss 
Townshend. He thought he rather hated that old 
Eussell, though he had not much idea why. His time 
was coming on now; he wondered how much longer 
before Miss Townshend would fetch the Post. Here it 
was, on the round table, with the other papers. He took 
one up and looked at it; but the type all ran together 
before his eyes, so he laid it down again, and walked up 
to the mantelshelf, and glared at the big black clock in 
the middle, and pulled the spear through the perforated 
fist of the bronze Diana on the top, and pushed it back- 
wards and forwards; and then walking to the writing- 
table, lit a Yesta-match and blew it out. He plunged 
his hands into his pockets, and looked down at his boots, 
apparently intently scrutinising their make, in reality 
not seeing them in the least; then he took up a hare's- 
foot-handled paper-knife and tapped his teeth with it, 
threw it down, and commenced a Polar-bear-like prome- 
nade of the room. 

The clock ticked solemnly on, and Captain Lyster 
was still pacing up and down, when the door opened and 
Miss Townshend entered. She seemed surprised to see 
any one in the room, and declared that she would not 



74 BROKEN TO HAENESS. 

remain a minute, and that she ■would take the greatest care 
not to disturb the Captain, who, she said with a smile, was 
evidently, from his purturbed expression, engaged upon 
the composition of an epic poem or other intense literary 
effort. At this remark the Captain grinned feebly, and 
besought the young lady not to mind his eccentricities, 
as he was full of them, though he was bound to confess 
he had never been mad enough to contemplate writing a 
poem. And then Miss Townshend smiled again, and 
seated herself at the round table, and taking up the Post 
turned to the "Fashionable intelligence," and was at 
once engrossed in the study of who was where, and at 
what country seats " select circles" were being " hospita- 
bly entertained." Lyster went to the writing-table, and 
began ornamenting the blotting pad with many spirited 
sketches, wondering all the time whether he should get 
any better chance for his contemplated announcement, 
or whether he should plunge into it at once. At last he 
thought he had an opportunity. Miss Townshend sud- 
denly exclaimed, " Oh, Captain Lyster, here's news for you! 
You recollect Mary Considine ? Yes, I should think you 
did. Those private theatricals at the Fenton's, where you 
and she — oh, I haven't forgotten it. Well, there's some- 
thing about her here ; listen : ' We understand that a 
matrimonial alliance will shortly take place between the 
Honourable Mary Considine, youngest daughter of Lord 
Torraghmore, and Major Burt, of the Life Guards.' 
That's Harry Burt, the straw-coloured one, isn't it ? 
Poor Captain Lyster ! doomed to wear the willow." 

The chance, the chance at last! 

" Surely, Miss Townshend," he commenced, " you can- 
not imagine that I ever seriously entertained any regard 
for Miss Considine. A very pleasant young lady, full of 
spirits, and highly amusing, but not possessing the quali- 
ties which one would look for in a wife. And you— can 
you imagine that in a house where you were — where I 
was in the habit of seeing you — . Lone, by Jove !"' 

The last sentence, uttered under his breath, was 
evoked by the opening ot the door, and the entrance of 



TOUCIITXG A PROPOSAL. 75 

Mr. Townshcnd, who looked more like the Ace of Clubs 
than over when he saw the couple in apparently close 
conversation. He at once approached his daughter, and 
asked her if she had "written that letter?" She said, 
with some tremulousness, "No." Mr. Townshend then 
raised his voice, and said he must beg — and with him 
"beg" sounded marvellously like "insist" — that she would 
do it at once. So the young lady, albeit with tears in her 
eyes, went dutifully off to obey her father's behests; the 
old gentleman sat down to the Times, while Lyster glared 
at him from behind a book, and wondered whether one 
could possibly call a man to account for interrupting 
one's conversation with his daughter. 



CHAPTEB VIII. 

TOUCHING ANOTHER PROPOSAL. 

Mr. Beresford meanwhile had strolled round to the 
stables, ascertained that, with the exception of the loss 
of a little hair from her off-hock, G-ulnare seemed none 
the worse for her journey (horses never travel by rail 
without a something), ordered his groom to bring her 
round in half an hours time, and made a cursory inspec- 
tion of the other horses while finishing his cigar. At the 
time appointed he mounted and rode away into Brighton, 
starting at first over the Downs in a brisk canter, but 
gradually subsiding into a checked walk, which ill suited 
Gailnare's fiery disposition, and made her rider break the 
current of his thoughts by several behests of "Steady 
now!" "Quiet, old lady;" and such like. Indeed, Mr. 
Beresford had quite enough subject-matter for reflection. 
He, too, had been turning over in his mind the expedi- 
ency of proposing to Miss Townshend, and had almost 
determined upon its being the right thing to do. The 
objection which he had urged in his discussion with Kate 
Mellon, that money and ugliness generally went together, 
would not hold good here. Miss Townshend was pretty 
and presentable; she was not clever, certainly; but so 
long as she was able to talk about Shakespeare and the 
musical glasses, that was all which the world would re- 
quire of her in the way of conversation, and that sort of 
jargon would be easily picked up. She knew passably 
sufficient of the accomplishments of society, and was, as 
times went, in a very good set. Her people belonged to 
the plutocracy; but Beresford liked that rather than 
otherwise, recollecting how far pleasanter than the sham 
state and starveling magnificence of some of his aristo- 



TOi'ClJING AXOTHKU TKOl'OSAG. 77 

(.•ratio friends were the town-houses and country places 
of City magnates and merchant princes, where every 
thing, from the sleek porter in the hall to the new and. 
massive salt-spoons on the table, spoke of wealth. To 
ascertain whether his venture was a safe one was the ob- 
ject of Beresford's visit to Brighton. He had known so 
many mushroom magnates, who, after a couple of seasons 
of full-blown pride, had collapsed and tumbled into the mud 
from which they sprung, that he took no man's monetary 
position on hearsay. He had met Mr. Townshend at capi- 
tal houses, and had seen his name in many apparently 
excellent City ventures; but, then, had he not met at 
the Duke of Banffshire's Mr. Poyntz, the great railway 
contractor, who two months afterwards smashed for a mil- 
lion and a half? and did not half the peerage welcome as 
a friend and respect as a banker the great Mr. Shoddy, 
who was at that moment engaged in oakum-picking in 
expiation of his fraudulent practices? There must be no 
mistake on this head; it would be a pretty thing if he, 
Charles Beresford, were not merely to find himself after 
a year or two with a penniless wife upon his hands, but 
were also to have the world talking about his mesalliance. 
As to the idea of rejection, that had scarcely entered his 
head. He was generally liked by women, and thought 
Miss Townshend no exception to the rule. Her father 
perhaps might look for money, and then he should have 
to square him as best he could. But Beresford argued 
to himself: these nouveaux riches generally look for po- 
sition; and if they cannot get rank for their girls, they 
like a good official connexion. Did not Petter marry the 
daughter of old Dunkel, the West-India merchant (by 
the by, she was a little woolly, though), simply through 
his being Secretary to the Lakes and Fisheries Depart- 
ment? And a Commissioner at the Tin -Tax ranked 
higher than that. Walbrook delighted to talk of " my 
son-in-law's connexion with the Government;" and Dow- 
o-ate Hill rejoiced in seeing a fourth-rate Cabinet Minis- 
ter or occasional Secretaries of Foreign Legations, much 
beribboned, at his daughter's drums. As to whether he 



78 BEOKEX TO HARNESS. 

cared for the girl, it scarcely entered into his mind to 
inquire; they would get on well enough; he would let 
her have her own way, so long as she did not interfere 
with him ; he should keep up his hunting, but cut play 
of eyery kind; and if he got at all bored, why then he 
would go into Parliament. Fortunately, he thought, he 
was not like most men: he could get married without 
its interfering with any body; there was no " establish- 
ment" to break up ; no inhabitant of a Brompton villa to 
tear her hair and use strong language until a liberal set- 
tlement was made; no jealous girls to upbraid and — As 
the thought of Kate Mellon and the recollection of his 
last interview with her flashed into Beresford's mind, he 
started involuntarily, and touched the mare with his spur. 
Gulnare jumped into the air, and started off like an ar- 
row. By the time he pulled her up, he was at the top 
of St. James's Street, Brighton ; and as he leisurely rode 
down the hill, he revolved in his mind the means of ar- 
riving at an immediate knowledge of his intended father- 
in-law's stability. 

He was not long in arriving at his determination. Of 
all the men he knew, Simnel, the secretary at the Tin- 
Tax Office, was the most knowing; and he andBeresford 
were on the most intimate terms. Had Beresford been 
in town, he would have consulted Simnel personally 
about this marriage business ; as it was, he thought that 
the secretary was the likeliest man to get for him the 
information he required. This information must be had 
at once ; as, once satisfied, he would not give another 
evening's chance to Lyster or that man Churchill, in 
whose wheel he had put so neat a spoke, but would com- 
mence immediately to clear the course on which he 
hoped to win. So he turned into the Old Steine, and 
leisurely dismounting at the door of the telegraph-office, 
resigned Gulnare into the hands of a passing boy, to 
whom he was so intent on giving instructions as to 
walking her gently up and down, that he did not ob- 
serve " that man Churchill" pass him in an open fly, the 
driver of which must have been stimulated by the pro- 



TOUCHINC ANOTHER PROPOSAL. 79 

spect of a largo reward, as his horse was proceeding at a 
pace very rarely undertaken by Brighton fly-cattle. But 
perfectly ignorant of the propinquity of the gentleman 
with whose family history he had recently manifested so 
intimate an acquaintance, Mr. Beresford entered the 
telegraph-office, and taking up one of the printed slips, 
wrote the following message : 

" C. B., Brhjlilon, to Robert Simnel, Tin-Tax Office, 
Rutland House, London. 

" Non olet pecunia. Whether a round game with 
Townshend of Queensbury Gardens would repay the 
necessary illumination. Reply ; figures, if possible." 

The clerk counted the words and grinned. "When 
Beresford, after saying that he would call for the answer, 
paid and walked out, the clerk carried the paper into thf» 
inner room where the manipulator was busy with his 
ever-clicking needles, and read the message out to him, 
grinning again ; whereupon they both expressed opinion 
that it was a " rum start," and another of those "games" 
which supplied the interesting youths employed by the 
Electric Telegraph Company with so many topics of 
conversation. 

Mr. Beresford put up his horse at a livery-stable, and 
then walked down towards the sea to while away the 
time until the answer should arrive. He knew Brighton 
thoroughly. He was a regular visitor from Saturday till 
Tuesday during November and December, when he 
stayed at the Bedford, and generally dined at the ca- 
valry mess ; but he had never seen the place in its au- 
tumnal aspect. Those who only know Brighton in the 
winter would scarcely recognise her in September, when 
she has more the aspect of Ramsgate or Margate. In 
place of the dashing carriages, flys at half-a-crown an 
hour crawl up and down the King's Road, the horses, 
perfectly accustomed to the dreary job, ambling along 
at their own sleepy pace ; the riding-masters are still to 
the fore, but for pupils, instead of the brilliant ecuyeres, 
they have heavy, clumsy girls in hired habits and hideous 
hats. All the officers of the cavalry regiment who can 



80 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

get leave, take it ; and those who cannot, devote them- 
selves to tobacco in the solitude of their barrack-rooms. 
The Esplanade is thronged -with fat people from the me- 
tropolitan suburbs, gorgeous Hebrews with their families 
from the Minories, and lawyers' clerks with a week's 
holiday. The beach is covered with children stone-dig- 
ging and feet- wetting ; with girls who have just bathed, 
with their hair down their backs, and girls who are 
waiting for machines ; with men selling shell-toys, and 
women imploring purchase of crochet-dolls ; with hilari- 
ous men throwing sticks for their dogs to swim after ; 
with contemplative men reading books, and gazing off 
them vacantly across the sea ; with drowsy men, supine, 
with their hats shading their faces from the sun. The 
whole place is changed ; the rich hotel and shopkeepers 
have gone inland (Tunbridge Wells is a favourite place 
of theirs) for relaxation, and their substitutes, goaded 
into madness by the unchanging blue sky and burning 
brick pavement, are bearish and morose ; men wear 
plaid shooting-coats of vivid patterns in the afternoon, 
and women, in flapping hats with draggled feathers, pro- 
menade in the Pavilion ; Brill's swimming-bath shuts up 
for painting and decoration ; and there are people seen 
walking on the Chain Pier. 

In this abnormal state of affairs Mr. Beresford found 
himself any thing but happy. He went to Mutton's and 
had some soup, and to Folthorp's and read the papers ; 
he strolled down the King's Road, and inspected the 
evolutions of various young ladies who were disporting 
in the waves, and indulging the passers-by with the 
gambols of Bloomsbury-super-Mare. Then he put his 
legs up on a bench on the Esplanade, and smoked a 
cigar, and stared at the passers-by ; and then, after the 
lapse of a couple of hours, he walked back to the tele- 
graph-office, where he found a reply waiting for him. It 
was from Mr. Simnel, and merely said : 

'• Olet. Three stars in Leadenhall Street and Director 
of L. B. and S. C. meaning ten thou. Plated heavily. 
If with good hand, play game." 



& 



CHAPTER IX. 

"A LITTLE PROUD, BUT FULL OF PITY."* 

Although only twenty-four hours absent from Bissett, 
Frank Churchill during that short period had undergone 
more mental conflict than is often suffered by many men 
in a course of years. He had had full time for reflec- 
tion, and had availed himself of it to the utmost. While 
within the charmed circle he was necessarily under fas- 
cination ; but now, although the witch was any thing 
but exorcised, he felt sufficiently himself to collect his 
thoughts, and he saw the absolute necessity of coming 
to some fixed determination as to his future conduct 
before he returned. Often before had he had occasion 
to weigh matters almost as important as this, though of 
course of a different character ; and he was not the man 
to blink one jot of the attendant difficulties, or to over- 
persuade himself as to the feasibility of his designs 
simply because he wished them carried out. He was in 
love with this girl, then ; he supposed that must be 
granted ? at all events, by analysis and comparison, that 
was easily ascertained. Though, as the world goes, his 
life had been tolerably pure, he had in his student-days, 
and in the time immediately subsequent, had his amour- 
ettes and flirtations like the rest ; but when he remem- 
bered what had been his feelings for Gretchen, the fat 
and fair daughter of Anton Schiitz, the beery saddler; 
for Ernestine, the sentimental heiress of the Graf von 
Triebenfeld ; for Eugenie and Olympe, vestals of the 
Quartier Latin ; or for any of the half-hundred young 
ladies with whom during the earlier portion of his Lon- 

* Ben Jouson. 

a 



82 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

don career he had gone through the usual bouquet-send. 
ing, cotillon-dancing, Botanical-Pete-meeting flirtation, 
— he recognised at once that this was a very different 
matter. Breakers ahead and all round ! As for Barbara, 
he felt conscious of no vanity in avowing to himself his 
perception of having excited her interest, but whether 
sufficiently to induce her to listen to an offer he could 
not imagine. Possibly, probably, she looked to making 
a brilliant marriage: her beauty and accomplishments 
were her capital, and should be turned to good purpose ; 
and yet, as this idea passed through his mind, he had 
an instinctive feeling that Barbara's proud spirit would 
revolt from any such match, however much it might be 
pressed on her by her relations. Her relations ! ay, even 
granting the girl's acquiescence, there would be one of 
the grand sources of difficulty : old Miss Lexden, rich, 
selfish, and narrow-minded, would doubtless oppose such 
a marriage in every possible way; and how would Sir 
Marmaduke look upon him, having come an invited and 
a welcome guest, and then brought this discord into the 
family? And even suppose it arranged somehow, she 
consenting and her friends satisfied, what was to be done 
with his mother, with whom and in whose house he then 
resided? how and where was the rest of her life to be 
passed ? He could not live far from the office, where, 
thrice a week always, and occasionally more frequently, 
he was engaged till past midnight ; and how would the 
brilliant beauty of the West be able to exist in the dreary 
fastnesses of Great Adullam Street, or the arid desert of 
Tiglath-Pileser Square ? And then the narrow income — 
competence for one, a bare sufficiency for two ! His 
horse must be given up, but that he would not so much 
mind; his Club (the Betrenchment) must be kept on, 
for business purposes, though he should of course never 
spend any money there ; and he must take to sixteen- 
shilling trousers, and that sort of thing ; all easy enough. 
But for her ? — no brougham (and fancy those tiny high- 
heeled iottines over the villanous Mesopotamian pave- 
ment !), only an occasional Opera-box obtained from the 



"A LITTLE PROUD, BUT FULL OF PITY." 83 

Statesman (situation high, surroundings queer, claqueurs 
and amis ties artistes), two or three balls in the season, 
and perhaps one dinner-party at home, with the inevit- 
able side-dishes and attendant carpet-beater. Ay, and 
worse beyond! — children born and reared in that dingy 
atmosphere, further expenditure to be met, perhaps sick- 
ness to be struggled through, and all the household 
gods dependent on him, — on the soundness of his health 
and the clearness of his brain, which failing, what had 
they to look to ? Ate de me ! that last thought settled 
the question. Let it fade out, pleasant dream that it 
was ; or rather let him crush it for ever ! It was impos- 
sible, and so let it pass. Down go the Spanish castles, 
away melt the aerial estates ; Duty's foot kicks away 
Alnaschar's basket, and there is the hard, dry, unsym- 
pathetic, work-a-day world before him ! He will go back 
to Bissett, but only for a day, just to get his traps to- 
gether and to make some plausible excuse, and then will 
start off. This first week of his holiday has been any 
thing but rest, and rest he requires. He will go to 
Scarborough — no ! not there, for reasons ; but to some 
watering-place, and pitch pebbles into the sea and lie 
fallow until he is compelled to return to work. Yes, that 
is the right course — he determines on it finally as the 
train nears the Brighton station; hopes must be crushed, 
and Duty must be obeyed. Duty has won the day for 
once — and where is the pearl-gray glove now ? At his 
lips, of course ! Frank Churchill has resolved upon doing 
his duty, and, like the drunkard in the old story, is 
"treating resolution." 

Anxiety to test his newly-formed determination must 
be strong, for he ordered the flyman to drive as hard 
as he could to Bissett; but, cooling a little, dismissed 
the man at the lodge-gates, and strolled through the 
avenue towards the house. The leaves yet held their 
ovvn; scarcely the slightest autumnal tint had fallen on 
them ; and the grand old avenue looked magnificent, 
The weather was splendid; the sun shone brightly, 
while the air was clear and bracing; deer bounded in 



84 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the brushwood ; and as Churchill stood rejoicing in the 
lovely view, a cart laden with game, and driven by little 
Joe Lubbock, the head-keeper's boy, emerged from the 
Home Copse, and made a pleasant feature in the land- 
scape. All around told of wealth and peace and English 
comfort; and as Churchill surveyed the scene, he felt (as 
he had often felt) how great were the enjoyments of 
those born to such heritage, and (as he had never felt) 
how well-disposed he should be for the sake of those 
enjoyments to undertake the necessary responsibilities. 
His Radicalism was of the very mildest nature ; the free 
and independent electors of Brighton or of Southwark 
would have scorned the feebleness of his ideas as to the 
requirements of the people ; he had no wish to alter the 
laws of primogeniture, nor to see the furniture designed 
by Gillow or Holland emblazoned with the " swart me- 
chanic's bloody thumbs;" — indeed, it must be confessed 
that he thought the " swart mechanic," when out of his 
place and wrong-headed through false leading, a very 
objectionable person. But he was in love, and wanted 
money and position to enable him to forward his suit; 
and as the thought of some who had both and did good 
with neither flitted across him, he stamped inrpatiently 
on the gravel, and the fair view and all the sweet excel- 
lence of nature faded out before his eyes. 

He walked hurriedly on for a few paces, and then 
bethought him that somewhere close in the neighbour- 
hood was the gate leading to the fir-plantation in which 
he had recently walked with Barbara on their return 
from the shooting-party. He had the whole afternoon 
to do nothing in, and it would be pleasant to renew the 
remembrance of that happy jesting talk. Memory, he 
thought rather bitterly, was a luxury which it did not 
require either rank or riches to enjoy. He struck across 
the dry crisp turf, and arrived at the gate; it opened on 
a short gravelled walk, with low palings on either side, 
terminating in a rustic stile, on the other side of which 
lay the fir-plantation. As Churchill entered the path he 
saw a figure seated on the stile at the other end, and in 



" A LITTLE PROUD, BUT FULL OF PITY." S5 

an instant knew it to be Barbara Lexden. Her head 
■was bent, and she was leaning forward, idly tracing- 
figures on the turf with the point of her parasol. Chur- 
chill advanced with a strange fluttering of his usually 
regular-beating heart; but she did not appear to hear 
his footstep until he was close behind her, when she sud- 
denly turned round, and their eyes met. It was a trying 
time for both, but Barbara was the first to speak. 

" So soon back, Mr. Churchill? We — that is, Sir 
Marmaduke was led to believe that you would not return 
until the end of the week." 

" Fortunately, Miss Lexden, my business in town 
was soon finished" ("Question of settlement with the 
lawyer, or naming the day with the lady," thought Bar- 
bara), "and I got back as quickly as I could. How 
lovely this place looks ! Perhaps it seems doubly beau- 
tiful after twenty-four hours in London; but it appears 
to me even fresher, calmer, and more peaceful than when 
I left it." 

" That, I suspect, is your poetic imagination, Mr. 
Churchill. You were praising Dryden the other night, 
and can now quote him to your own purposes. You 
know he says: 

' Winds murmured through the leaves his short delay, 
And fountains o'er their pebbles chid his stay; 
But, -with his presence cheered, they cease to mourn, 
And walks seem fresher green at his return.' " 

" Aptly quoted, though the lines were addressed to a 
lady, and for ' his' read ' your.' I don't think that even 
the fountains in Trafalgar Square would be weak enough 
to ' chide my stay.' But, apropos of poetic imagination, 
I am afraid I disturbed you from some deep reverie." 

" You never were more mistaken," said Barbara, with 
a short laugh. " I — I came out on a much more unro- 
mantic expedition. I lost a glove a day or two ago, and 
— and fancied I might have dropped it somewhere here." 

" Is this it?" asked Churchill suddenly, taking from 
his pocket a morocco-leather case, and producing from it 
the much-prized pearl-gray. 



86 BROKEjST to harness. 

"Yes," said Barbara, glancing quickly at him from 
under her drooping eyelids; " that is it. How very for- 
tunate !" 

"I picked it up," said Churchill, "as we returned 
from the shooting-party the other day, and intended 
restoring it sooner, but forgot it. I am glad to be able 
to do so now." He handed her the glove, looked her 
straight in the face, and walked on silently by her side. 

" We have had a new arrival here since you left," said 
Barbara, after a pause, swinging the glove slowly to and 
fro; "a Mr. Beresford. You know him?" 

" Beresford? Oh, of the Tin-Tax Office! I have met 
him." 

"You are on intimate terms?" 

" I — I have not that honour. Mr. Beresford moves in 
a different set to mine." 

" That question of ' sets' seems to be one of para- 
mount importance with you, Mr. Churchill. How fre- 
quently you harp upon it!" 

" It is a question which we must necessarily bear in 
mind, Miss Lexden," said Churchill, with emphasis; then 
smiling, added, — "Suum cuique, which is Latin, and un- 
intelligible; 'the cobbler and his last,' which is English 
and vernacular. But why did you ask?" 

" Simply because he seems amusing, and likely to be 
popular here. I am sorry we shall not have the oppor- 
tunity of profiting by his high spirits, as aunt and I will 
probably be leaving on Thursday." 

One quick glance told her that this shot, if intended 
for mischief, had signally failed. With perfect calmness 
Churchill replied, 

" And I also must manage to survive the loss of Mr. 
Beresford's conversation, as I go to-morrow." 

"To-morrow!" exclaimed Barbara; then, in her ordi- 
nary tone, " Ah, to be sure, you have of course so much 
to do." 

" Well, said Churchill, smiling, " for a month I hope 
to do little beyond mooning on the beach and throwing 
pebbles into the sea." 



" A LITTLE ritOUD, BUT FULL OF PITY." 87 

" Yes," said Barbara quickly; "that is, I believe, the 
usual thing under the circumstances. And the place? 
the Isle of Wight, or Devonshire, of course?" 

" Under the circumstances!" he echoed. " I beg your 
pardon, Miss Lexden, but I fear we are at cross purposes. 
Under what circumstances?" 

(" He braves it out to the last," thought Barbara; 
" who would have thought that he could have stooped to 
a shuffle, or degrade the woman he was engaged to, by 
tacitly ignoring the fact?") Then she said, curling her 
lip, and tossing the glove with a lightly contemptuous 
gesture, 

" Good news travels fast, Mr. Churchill. The fact of 
your forthcoming marriage is known at Bissett." 

" My forthcoming marriage? It's a joke, Miss Lex- 
den?" 

" We have heard it as a fact." 

" And you believed it?" said Churchill, turning white, 
while his lip trembled visibly as he spoke. 

"Why should I not?" After a pause, and in a low 
voice, " Then you are not going to be married?" 

"Married, no! Miss Lexden, you must now listen 
patiently to what I should otherwise have kept secret, 
knowing the folly I have been guilty of. If ever I marry, 
Barbara Lexden will be my wife!" 

She started, and seemed about to speak. 

" One moment more," said he. " You know how com- 
pletely I understand the difference in our position?" (An 
impatient gesture from Barbara.) " My sensitiveness, 
pride — call it what you will — would have kept me silent. 
Now I have spoken, and — Barbara — you must not keep 
me in suspense. Could it ever be possible?" 

Perfectly colourless, she leant against the stile, but 
said nothing. 

" Miss Lexden, you must end this doubt." 

Silently she placed the little glove in his hand. 

"Barbara! my Barbara!" and she was folded to Ms 
heart. 



CHAPTER X. 

AT THE TIiY-TAX OFFICE, Xo. 120. 

The Tin-Tax Office, as I have before had occasion to re- 
mark, is situated in a Ming of Rutland House; that noble 
building so well known to most Englishmen, whence are 
issued those concise documents relating to unpaid arrears 
of public imposts, and where the mulcting of the nation 
is carried on. The Tin-Tax is by no means a bad office, 
as times go; though it is rather looked down upon by 
the men in the Check and Counter-Check Department, 
and the Navigation Board, who have offices in the same 
building. It used to be a great point of humour with 
the wits of twenty years since to Baj that the appoint- 
ments in the Tin-Tax Office were given to sons of the 
faithful butlers of patriotic peers, and to those eager con- 
stituents for whose placing-out in life the Members for 
Irish boroughs are always petitioning with energy and 
perseverance worthy of the horse-leech's daughters. And, 
indeed, the manners and customs of some of the middle- 
aged clerks bear testimony to the truth of this report. 
They were good enough fellows in their day — blundered 
on at their offices from ten till four; dined cheaply at 
Short's, or Berthollini's, or the Cock; went half-price to 
the Adelphi; occasionally supped at the Coal-Hole or the 
Cider Cellars; and went home to their garrets in Isling- 
ton with the perfect idea that they were roystering dogs, 
and that the world did not contain many men who had 
drained pleasure's goblet more thoroughly to the dregs 
than themselves. Most of them married betimes — occa- 
sionally the landlady of their lodgings ; more frequently 



AT THE TTN-TAX OFFICE, NO. 120. 89 

.lie pallid daughter of some fellow-clerk, after a flirtation 
begun oyer a round game or "a little music;" most fre- 
quently some buxom lass met at seaside boarding-house, 
or in the old paternal home, where they spent their leave 
of absence. But we have changed all that; and junior 
clerks of the present day are thoroughly and entirely dif- 
ferent from their predecessors: the establishment of the 
Civil-Seryice Commission, and the ordination of promo- 
tion by merit, have sent quite a different class of men 
into the public service, and the subordinate appointments 
of the Tin-Tax Office are held by men who have taken 
their degrees at Oxford; who can turn " Vilikins and his 
Dinah" into Greek iambics ; who can tell you where Mon- 
tenegro is, and what it wants ; who have thoroughly mas- 
tered the Schleswig-Holstein question; who are well up 
in the theory of thermo-clynamics; and who dip into Jean 
Paul Richter for a little light reading;— all excellent ac- 
complishments, and thoroughly useful in the Tin-Tax 
Office. 

It is half-past twelve on a fine Saturday morning in 
the beginning of October, and the six occupants of room 
No. 120 are all assembled, and all at work; that is to say, 
four of them are writing, one is looking vacantly out of 
the window, and one is reading the Times. No. 120 is 
at the top of the building; a pleasant room when you 
reach it, looking on to the river, but up four flights of 
steep stone stairs. No. 120 has always its regular num- 
ber of occupants; for when the chief clerk learns that a 
young gentleman has an undue number of friends calling 
upon him during official hours, he causes the popular man 
to be removed to No. 120, and after two trials of the stairs 
the visitors prefer meeting their friend in the evening at 
some less Alpine retreat. So also, when a young gentle- 
man is in the habit of being perpetually waited upon by 
duns, he makes interest to get moved into No. 120, and 
finds that his creditors simultaneously urge their demands 
not in person, but through the medium of the Post-Office. 
The head of the room is Mr. Kinchenton, that tall man 
with the rounded shoulders, and grizzled head ever bent 



90 BROKEN TO HARXESS. 

over his desk. Hard work has bowed Mr. Kinchenton's 
back and silvered his hair; for he has been in the Tin- 
Tax Office since he was sixteen years old, and though 
promoted under the old system of seniority and length of 
service, no one could ever say that he had not fairly won 
every step he got. Before he was sixteen, he was the 
hope and pride — the prize scholar — of the Heckmondike 
Grammar- School, his father being head-keeper to Lord 
Heckmondike, who placed the boy on the foundation of 
the school, and, finding him apt and studious, obtained 
for him his appointment from the Government of the day. 
No Adelphi at half-price, no Cider Cellars or Coal-Hole, 
for young Kinchenton, who had a little bedroom in a 
little terrace close by Kennington Common, where he was 
to be found every night, book in hand, and happy as a 
prince. A poor little bedroom enough! — a wretched little 
bedroom, with a white -dimity -covered tester-bed, two 
rush-bottomed chairs, a painted chest of drawers, a ric- 
kety washhand-stand, and a maddening square of looking- 
glass hanging against the wall. But to that garret came 
Sancho Panza and the gaunt Don his master; came Gil 
Bias, and the beggar with his arquebuse, and the Arch- 
bishop of Grenada; came cringing Tartuffe, and prepos- 
terous Sganarelle; came wandering Rasselas and sage 
Imlac; came Ferdinand Count Fathom, swearing Tom 
Pipes, and decorous Mr. Blifil. There the hardworking 
clerk laughed over Falstaff s lovemaking and Malvolio's 
disgrace, or wept over Sterne's dead ass and Le Fevre's 
regained sword; while his comrades Mace and Flukes 
were ruining each other at billiards, and Potter and Piper 
were hiccuping noisy applause to indecent songs. 

When Mr. Kinchenton was forty years old, his income 
had reached the bewildering amount of four hundred a 
year, and he thought he might indulge in the luxury of a 
wife; so he took to himself a pretty little soft-eyed girl, 
the daughter of an old gentleman who was a traveller in 
the straw-bonnet line, and who, when he was not chiving 
about in a very high four-wheeled trap which did its best 
to look like a mail-phaeton and signally failed in the 



AT THE TIN-TAX OFFICE, NO. 120. 91 

attempt, lived in the little terrace next door to Kinchen- 
ton's lodgings. After his daughter's marriage, the old 
gentleman, who was a widower, gave up travelling, re- 
tired upon his savings, and went to live with his son-in- 
law in a little house which Kinchenton had taken in 
Camden Town, where the birth of a son crowned Kin- 
chenton's happiness. His adoration of this child was his 
weakest point: he was always narrating its wonderful 
deeds to every body; and the men in the office, with 
whom the little fellow was really a favourite, knew they 
could always get late attendance overlooked or half- 
holiday granted if they asked after little Percy, and sent 
him some trifling present. 

It is well for the junior clerks of No. 120 that Mr. 
Kinchenton is the head of the room; for the next in 
seniority, Mr. Dibb, is by no means a pleasant person. 
Harsh, stiff, sectarian bigotry lurks in his coarse, close- 
cropped black hair, and in the plaited folds of his huge 
white neck-cloth; he invariably wears a black dress-coat, 
waistcoat, and trousers, creaking boots, and damp cloth 
gloves. He is always ailing, and invariably changing 
his medical system: now vaunting the virtues of blue- 
pill, now swearing by homoeopathy; he has been rubbed 
and cracked and shampooed and galvanised; and once 
he tried hydropathy, but came back in a week from 
Malvern no better, and apparently no cleaner, than be- 
fore his visit to Dr. Gully. He was one of the first- 
fruits of the noble system of promotion by merit, having 
been transferred to Rutland House from some provincial 
stronghold of the Tin-Tax Office, and report said that he 
had originally been a schoolmaster in Bilston. He was 
hated by nearly all his juniors, but respected by the heads' 
for his conscientiousness and power of work; and he was 
located in No. 120 to neutralise, to some extent, Mr. 
Kinchenton's excess of good nature. The rank and file 
of No. 120 consisted of Mr. Prescott and Mr. Pringle, 
junior clerks; Mr. Boppy, an old gentleman with a bald 
head and a double eyeglass, who had arrived, through 
dint of long service, at a good income, who was utterly 



92 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

useless, and who had no characteristic save his intense 
dread of his wife; and Mr. Crump, who had been for 
twenty years an extra clerk, and who, owing to an in- 
vincible stutter, had never been able to interest any one 
sufficiently to procure him an appointment. 

"Devilish hot!" said Mr. Pringie, a short, good- 
humoured-looking young man, laying down his Times 
and opening his waistcoat; " devilish hot! Crump, there's 
a good, fellow, open the door." 

Mr. Crump looked up from his work, and said appeal- 
ingly, " I've got a st — a st — a st — " he would have said 
"stiff neck;" but long before he could reach the word, 
Pringie interrupted him — 

" Strong hand; you've got a strong hand, I know, and 
the door sticks; that's why I asked you. Boppy, my 
boy. I've not yet had time to ask you how you are." 

" Well, I'm well in health, thank you, Mr. Pringie," 
said Mr. Boppy, depositing his pen on the desk, and 
rubbing his bald forehead; "but I'm rather worried in 
my mind." 

" What troubles my Boppy? Has the Bank reduced 
its rate of discount, so that my Boppy's ingots are not 
worth quite so much per cent as they were yesterday: or 
is it love that is sending him to grief? Has my Boppy 
been sporting with Amaryllis in the shady side of Bromp- 
ton Bow, and has Mrs. B. found it out? Oh, Bop!" 

"Nonsense, Mr. Pringie! I — " 

" I must say that such remarks as those," inter- 
rupted Mr. Dibb, " appear to me to be very bad jokes." 

"Yery likely, Mr. Dibb," retorted Pringie; "but 
that's because you're the quintessence of humour your- 
self. We can't all hope to make ourselves as thoroughly 
genial and pleasant as you — can we, Crump?" 

" I d — decline to s — to s — to say — " 

" To say ditto to Dibb ! Of course : you're my friend, 
and I knew you'd never desert me. Now, Boppy, you 
were about to say something when you were interrupted' 
in that gentlemanly manner by our friend J. Miller; 
what was it ?" 



AT THE TIN-TAX OFFICE, NO. 120. 93 

" Oh, I was merely thinking that I'd try and take 
that dog home this afternoon, and I'm rather doubtful 
as to how my wife will receive it. You see, I bought 
him a week ago, and Simmons, the hall-porter here, has 
kept him for me in the coal-cellar since then. He's a 
white Pomeranian dog, and the coal-cellar don't suit him 
somehow; but I daren't take him to Putney until I'd 
somewhat prepared Mrs. B.'s mind. So last night I read 
her several anecdotes of dogs, where they were all faith- 
ful and friendly and clean, you know; and this afternoon 
I shall take Spitz home, and — and say you gave him to 
me, I think, Mr. Pringle, if you've no objection." 

"Certainly, if you like it, I don't mind; any thing 
you please, Boppy, my boy. Dogs as many as you like, 
and things of that sort; only, if Mrs. B. ever finds white- 
kid gloves, or locks of hair, or patchouli-scented pink 
notes, don't say they come from me — you understand? 
By the way, that reminds me. Prescott! p'st! Prescott!" 

A tall, good-looking man of two or three-and-twenty, 
who was leaning his head on one hand and staring out 
of the window, turned round and said dreamily, "What?" 

" "What an amusing companion you are !" said Mr. 
Pringle; " what a charming remark that was when you last 
spoke, an hour and twenty minutes ago ! What was it ?" 

" Don't be an idiot, Pringle !" 

" No, it wasn't that ; to be told to avoid an impossi- 
bility would have struck me as novel. Never mind; I 
was going to ask who that was I saw you speaking to at 
the King's Cross Terminus yesterday." 

"At King's Cross?" said Prescott. colouring; "oh, 
that was a friend of mine, a clergyman." 

" Ah !" said Pringle, quietly, " I thought so. He had 
on a blue bonnet and a black-lace shawl. Neat foot he's 
got ; those parsons are always so particular about their 
stockings !" 

"Don't be an ass, George!" growled Prescott, in an 
undertone. 

"All right, old boy!" said Pringle, in the same key. 
"Forgot we weren't alone. Nobody heard, I think; but 



94 BROKEN' TO HARNESS. 

I'll soon change the subject;'' and he commenced whist- 
ling II Bacio, loud and shrill. 

" Mr. Pringle ! Mr. Pringle !" screamed Mr. Dibb. 

Mr. Pringle held up his hand as if deprecating inter- 
ruption until he had come to the end of the bar, when he 
said, with mock politeness, " Sir to you !" 

" How often have I begged you, sir, not to whistle 
during official hours? It is impossible for me to write 
my minutes while you're whistling." 

"Write your minutes!" said Mr. Pringle. " Sir, we 
have the authority of A. Tennyson, Esquire, the Poet of 
the Age, if my honourable friend in the Isle of Wight 
will so permit me to call him, for saying that 

' Lightlier move the minutes fledged with music' 

Though that even my whistling could make your minutes 
move lightly, with due respect to Alfred, I doubt." 

" Mr. Kinchenton," cried Mr. Dibb, now a dirty white 
with rage, " I must request you, as head of this room, to 
call upon Mr. Pringle not to forget himself." 

" My dear sir," said Pringle, " there's no one I think 
of so much." i 

"G-eorge," said Mr. Kinchenton quietly, "pray be 
quiet !" 

"Certainly, Padre; I'm dumb! Thank Heaven and 
the Early Closing Association, to-day's a half holiday, 
and we cut it at two." 

"Ah, to be sure!" said Kinchenton, anxious to atone 
for even the slight show of authority which his previous 
words might have suggested; "there are grand doings 
this afternoon at the Eyres', at Hampstead. I'm going 
to take my Percy there. Athletic sports, running, leap- 
ing, and all the rest of it." 

"Ha! ha!" said Pringle; " at the Eyres', eh? 

' The merry brcvn Eyres come leaping,' 

as Kingsley has it. What a pity they havn't asked me!" 
"You're going, Prescott, I suppose?" asked Kin- 



AT THE TIN-TAX OFFICE, NO. 120. 95 

chenton. " The Eyres are friends of yours — you're going 

to their fete?'' 

" I ! no, Padre," was the reply ; " I'm not going." 
" Oh, he's very bad !" said Pringle, in a whisper, 

" He's got it awfully, but he'll get better." 

' Now lie has turned himself wholly to love and follows a damsel, 
Caring no more for honour, or glory, or Pallas Athene.' 

Kingsley again — hem!" 

" I wonder, Mr. Pringle," said Mr. Dibb, " that you 
do not attempt to form some more permanent style of 
reading than the mere poetry, scraps of which you are 
always quoting. For my own part, I consider poetry 
the flimsiest kind of writing extant." 

" I'm surprised at that, now," said Pringle placidly. 
"I should have thought that you would have been a 
great appreciator of the gloomy and Byronic verse. To 
understand that properly, you must have lost all digestive 
power; and you know, Mr. Dibb, that your liver is hor- 
ribly out of order." 

A general laugh followed this remark, in which even 
Mr. Kinchenton joined, and at which Mr. Dibb looked 
more savage than ever. In the midst of it the clock 
struck two, and at the last sound Mr. Crump closed his 
blotting-book, put on his hat, and vanished, saying 
" G--good" as he passed through the door; two minutes 
•afterwards, fragments of the word "d-day" were heard 
reverberating in the passage. Simultaneously Mr. Boppy 
struck work and went to look after his dog, Mr. Dibb 
started off without a word, and Mr. Prescott took off his 
coat to wash his hands previous to departure. When he 
emerged from the washing cupboard, he found Pringle 
waiting for him: both the young men shook hands with 
their chief, sent their loves to Mrs. Kinchenton and the 
boy, and turned out into the Strand. 

They had not gone far when Pringle asked his com- 
panion whither he was bound. Prescott was too ab- 
sorbed to hear the question, but, on its repetition, mut- 



96 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

tered something about an " engagement out Kensington 
way." 

"All!" said Pringle, with the nearest approach to a 
sigh, "ride a cock horse, eh? the old game! Look here, 
Jim, old fellow. I'm not clever, you know, but I know 
how many blue beans make five; ar_d I'm not strait-laced 
or pious or any thing of that sort, but I'm very fond 
of you, and I tell you this won't do!" 

"What won't do?" asked Prescott, with a flaming- 
face. 

" Why, this Kate Mellon business, Jim. It's on hot 
and strong, I know. You've been down in the mouth 
all the time she was away; you met her at the station 
yesterday, and probably you're going up to her place to- 
day. Now you know, Jim, I've seen more of life than 
you, and I tell you this is all wrong." 

"Why, you don't imagine -that there's any thing — ?" 

"I don't imagine any thing at all. I haven't got 
any imagination, I think. I'm the most matter-of-fact 
beggar that ever walked; but I know you're confoundedly 
spooney and hard hit, and in a wrong quarter. Now, 
Jim, pull yourself together, old man, and cut it." 

" I can't, George," groaned Prescott, raising his hat 
and tossing the hair back from his forehead ; " I can't. 
You don't know how I love that woman, old fellow. 
I'd die for her; I'd go out and be shot at once, if it 
would save her a pang. I hate any one to come near 
her, and I'm always thinking of her, and longing to be 
with her." 

" I felt just like that once for a female tobacconist 
in Briggate, at Leeds," said Mr. Pringle after a pause. 
" Deuced nice girl she was too, and what thundering- 
bad cigars she sold! I'm very glad I didn't die for her, 
though. I got my appointment just in time, and came 
up to town without asking her to fly with me to distant 
climes. She wouldn't have known what ' climes' meant, 
I think. Now, look here, Jim; you'd better do some- 
thing of the same sort. Apply for sick-leave (Glauber 
will give you a certificate), and go home and have some 



AT THE TIX-TAX OFFICIO, NO. 120. 97 

shooting, and stay with your people, and you'll come 
back cured. Only cut it at once. Don't go there to- 
day; come with me. I've got a little business to do that 
won't take half an hour, and then I'm going to spar with 
F>ol> Travers, and you shall see me polish him off with a 
new ' Mendoza tip' that I learnt last night. Now, you'll 
come, won't you, Jim?" 

" Xot to-day, George. I know you're right in every 
word you say; and yet I can't give it up yet — at all 
events to-day. I must see her, I've got something special 
to say to her, and the time's getting on. Good-by, old 
fellow; I know you mean well; and I'll come out all 
right yet. Gocl bless you, old boy! Hi! Hansom!" and 
Mr. Prescott jumped into a cab, murmured an inaudible 
address to the driver, and was whirled away. 

Mr. Pringle remained on the kerb-stone, shaking his 
head and looking after the departing Hansom. " James 
Prescott is in for it," said he to himself, " is decidedly in 
for it. So, by the way, is George Pringle. If I don't 
pay Wilkins that twenty pounds to-night, I shall be 
County-Courted, as safe as houses. I never have put 
my hand to any bill before; but needs must, I suppose. 
So I'll just step up and see old Scadgers." And Mr. 
Pringle struck across the Strand, in a northerly direction. 



CHAPTER XL 

"WITH THE SECRETARY. 

If, instead of ascending the broard staircase immediately 
on entering the Tin -Tax Office, you were to proceed 
straight forward, you would come to the messengers' 
lobby, which is the outpost, protecting the penetralia 
where the Commissioners and the Secretary are enshrined. 
The principal duty of these messengers, besides answering 
bells and carrying about official papers, was to protect the 
august personages just referred to from being intruded 
upon by " the public ;" and as one learnt from his Scrip- 
ture History that the term " Gentiles" meant " all nations 
except the Jews," so, after a very little official experience, 
one became aware that " the public" meant every body 
who did not hold an appointment in the Tin-Tax Office. 
The duties incumbent upon certain emissaries of the 
Office, in regard to the collection of revenue, made the 
head-quarters at Rutland House a grand resort of the 
" public," who generally came here with very belligerent 
intentions, and who either referred to printed documents 
in their hands and wished to see Mr. Simnel the Secretary 
(whose name appeared attached to the documents), or 
occasionally even demanded an interview with the Chief 
Commissioner, the great Sir Hickory Maddox, himself. 
It is needless to say that these wishes were never gratified: 
the messengers of the Tin-Tax Office were men to whom, 
in the discharge of his favourite accomplishment, Ananias 
could not have held a candle ; men with imperturbable 
•feces and ready tongues, who took the " public's" measure 
in an instant, and sent him to whatsoever clerk they 
thought would most readily dispose of his grievance. " I 



WITH THE SECRETARY. 99 

wish to see the Chief Commissioner," would exclaim a 
Briton, red in face, dripping in head, and bursting with 
indignation. To him calm, majestic Mr. Potts, the chief 
messenger, a fat man with a big forehead, a large stomach, 
flat feet in low shoes, and a general butlerish appearance 
— " Sir Tckry is with the Chanclr of Schequer, sir, on 
most important bisness." " The Secretary, then." " The 
Seckittary have gone with Sir Tckry, sir ; — what is your 
bisness, sir?" "Why, I've been overcharged — " "Ah, 
thought so, sir ! Eebate on prop'ty dooty. Walker, show 
the gentleman to number 15," — and away down the loud- 
resounding passages, or up the mountainous stairs, would 
the unfortunate " public" be hurried. 

The superior rooms lay up a little passage to the right 
of the messengers' lobby, and were three in number. First 
came the Board-room, a large and solemn salmon-coloured 
apartment, where the Commissioners sat when for des- 
patch of business assembled. A big, dull -faced clock 
ticked on the mantelshelf; solemn green maps of distant 
countries, from year's end to year's end undisturbed, curled 
themselves round in dusty layers on the walls ; and a large 
red-leather sofa, on which Mr. Beresford, in the absence 
of the other Commissioners, and after a hard night's 
waltzing, had enjoyed hours of pleasant repose, filled up 
a recess. In the centre of the room stood a heavy writing- 
table, with pads of blotting-paper, pools of black ink, and 
bundles of quill-pens distributed at regular intervals. At 
the head of this table always stood a red-leather arm-chair, 
and this arm-chair always on business occasions contained 
the sacred person of the Chief Commissioner, Sir Hickory 
Maddox. A little man, Sir Hickory, with a parchment 
face, a blue eye like a bit out of a china plate, stiff gray 
hair brushed into a point on the top of his head, and 
formal little gray whiskers : always dressed in a little black 
frock-coat, and little gray waistcoat and trousers ; wearing 
too a heavy gold-set cornelian seal, and a cumbrous old- 
fashioned watch-key, just projecting from his fob, — buoys 
to show whereabouts his thick gold chronometer was 
sunk, in some unknown depths. A kind-hearted, fussy, 



100 Bl:OKEX TO HATi^ES?. 

hard-working man, whose family had been for generations 
in the public service, who had himself worked for years in 
the Draft and Docket Office, had risen and distinguished 
himself there, and had finally been rewarded with the Chief- 
Commissionership of the Tin-Tax, and with being created 
a K.C.B. His official position he esteemed one of the 
most enviable in the kingdom; he thought of nothing but 
official matters ; and when, being of a hospitable turn, he 
had solemn dinners at his house in Wimpole Street, all 
the guests were magnates of other offices or — for he was 
a kind chief in that respect — juniors of the Tin-Tax. 
And invariably, just as the cloth was drawn, the butler 
would appear at his master's elbow, bearing a salver, on 
which lay an enormous red-leather official despatch-pouch. 
The little man would smile feebly at his guests, would 
shrug his shoulders, and saying, " Our labours follow us 
even here," would unlock the pouch, glance at its con- 
tents (probably the Globe, and private note), and relock- 
ing it, say, "Lay it on the library-table, Benson. I must 
go into the matter before I sleep. However, nunc vino 
pcllite curas ! Port, sherry, madeira, and claret !" 

Between Sir Hickory Maddox the senior, and Mr. 
Beresford the junior, there were two other Commissioners. 
One was the Honourable Morris Peck, who had been a 
Gentleman Usher at Court, — at whose name years ago 
young ladies used to blush, and matrons to gather them- 
selves together in brood-hen fashion for the protection 
of their chicks, — a roysterer at Crockford's, a friend of 
Pea-Green Payne and the Golden Hall and that lot, — a 
" devil of a fellow, sir!" but who was now merely a hook- 
nosed old gentleman in a high coat-collar and a curly- 
brimmed hat ; wearing false teeth, dyed hair, and blacked 
eyebrows; who always slept peacefully until his signature 
was required, when he gave it in a very shaky schoolboy 
scrawl. The other was Mr. Miles O'Scardon, an Irish 
gentleman of ancient family, but limited means, who had 
represented Ballyhogue in Parliament for years, and who 
had obtained his appointment for the fidelity with which 
he had always obeyed the summons of the ministerial 



WITH THE SirilETAllY. lol 

whip. Beyond the Board-room lay the sanctum of the 
Chief-Commissioner's-; private secretary, a young man 
always chosen lor his good looks, his good clothes, and 
his gentlemanly bearing, who was envied by his brother 
juniors, but who had to answer Sir Hickory's bell, and 
was consequently taunted by the epithet " Jeames." And 
beyond that, though unconnected with it, lay the Secre- 
tary's room. 

A large, light, airy room, far away from the noise 
and bustle, and looking on to the river. Bound the walls 
are huge oak-presses, filled with tied-up bundles of con- 
fidential papers, secret reports of the out-door agents of 
the Tin-Tax Office, which, if published, would have as- 
tonished the world by throwing quite a new light on the 
incomes of several of its idols. Maps were there too, and 
framed tables of statistics, and the Stationers' Almanac; 
and over the mantelpiece hung a proof-before-letters en- 
graving of the portrait of Sir Hickory Maddox, after 
Grant, with an exact likeness of that great official's 
favourite inkstand and quill-pen, and with a correctness 
in the fit of the trousers such as was never achieved by 
the great original. There was a round table in the mid- 
dle of the room, divided into two equal portions by a line 
of books of reference — Guide-books, M'Culloch's Com- 
mercial Dictionary, Haydn's Dates, the Post-Office Direc- 
tory, Bradshaw, and other light reading: one side of the 
line of demarcation was bare (save at one o'clock, when 
it bore the little tray containing the Secretary's light 
luncheon) ; on the other lay the Secretary's blotting-book, 
pen-stand, and paper-case. 

About the time when the conversation recorded in 
the last chapter was going on between his clerks, Mr. 
Simnel, the Secretary, sat in his official room, signing his 
name to printed papers, which he took one by one from 
a large heap at his right hand, and, after signing, drop- 
ped at his feet. It was plain that his thoughts were 
otherwise absorbed; for as the sheets fell from his hand 
and fluttered to the ground, he never looked after them, 
but would occasionally pause in his occupation, lay down 



102 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

his pen, nurse his right leg with both hands, and rock 
himself quietly to and fro. As he moved here and there 
in the sunlight, you might have perceived that his limbs 
were long and ungainly; that he had big broad hands 
with thick corrugated veins, and finger-nails strong, hard, 
and cut to a point; that he was very bald, and that such 
fringe of hair as remained was of a dull red; that he had 
a large sensual face, big projecting brown eyes, thick 
clumsy nose, full scarlet underlip, heavy jowl, and large 
massive chin. You could have noticed, too, that, in certain 
lights, this face was worn and jaded and almost haggard, 
traversed here and there with deep furrowed lines, marked 
with crow's-feet and wrinkles and deep indentations. As 
you gazed, perhaps, all this faded away, the face beamed 
forth happy, jolly, sensual as ever; but you felt that the 
wrinkles were there, and that so soon as the flicker passed 
away, they would be seen again. 

Xot in the discharge of his easy labours at the Tin- 
Tax Office had Mr. Simnel acquired these lines and 
wrinkles. The calm direction of that engine of the State 
had only come upon him of late years,' and never had 
caused him any trouble. But Mr. Simnel had compressed 
a great many years' experience into forty years of life, 
and the crow's-feet and indentations were the result of 
brain-labour, worry, and anxiety. Mr. Simnel's first re- 
collection of any thing found him a little boy, in a skele- 
ton-suit, at the grammar-school of Combcardingham, — a 
city which every body save the envious inhabitants of its 
rival Dockborough allowed to be the metropolis of the 
north. Little Bob Simnel did not know whose son he 
was, or how his schooling was paid for; all he knew was, 
that he boarded with an old lady, the widow of a tax- 
collector, who was very kind to him, and that he soon 
found out the best thing he could do was to stick to his 
book. To his book he stuck manfully; walked through 
all the classes of the grammar-school, one by one, until 
he became junior boy of the sixth form, until he became 
senior boy of the sixth form, until the visiting examiner, 
the Bisbon of Latakia, New Zealand, declared that he 



WITH THE SECRETARY. 103 

had the greatest pleasure in naming Mr. Robert Simnel 
as the gainer of the exhibition of seventy-five pounds a 
year; and added, as he shook hands with said Robert, 
that whichever University he might prefer would be 
honoured by his choice. Young Mr. Simnel, however, 
did not go to either Oxford or Cambridge: after a length- 
ened interview with the head-master, the Rev. Dr. Barker, 
Mr. Simnel gracefully resigned the exhibition in favour 
of Swetter, major, who " proxime accessit," and entered 
as the articled clerk of Messrs. Banner and Blair, ac- 
counted the sharpest lawyers in Combcardingham, and 
known through all 1 the county as great electioneering 
agents for the Liberal party. A few years passed on ; 
Mr. Simnel had finished his articles, had become the 
junior partner of Messrs. Banner and Blair, and was 
working steadily and well, when an event happened 
which insured his success for life. 

It was this: Combcardingham, for the three last 
general elections, had returned the same two members- 
Sir Thomas Prodd and Mr. Shuttler; both local mag- 
nates, employing hundreds of hands, supporting local 
charities, known throughout the county, and Liberal to 
the backbone. One morning news sped to London that 
Mr. Shuttler was dead; and that evening a tall, thin 
gentleman, with a hare-lip, arrived by afternoon express 
in Combcardingham, and engaged the Waterloo Hotel as 
the head-quarcers of Mr. Farquhar, the Conservative can- 
didate. Blue bills on a dead-wall unpleasantly pro- 
claimed this fact to Mr. Simnel as he was shaving him- 
self the next morning; and he perceived that young 
"Woof ham, the hope of the Liberal party, would not be 
brought in without a struggle. So he, metaphorically^ 
took off his coat and set to work; canvassed, intrigued, 
cajoled, went through all the dirty round of electioneer- 
ing tactics, but found he did not make much way; found, 
in truth, that the hare-lipped man seemed to have For- 
tunatus's purse somewhere about him, and that young 
"Woof ham was a miserly young hunks, who did not see 
the borough as a proper investment for his ingots. What 



to- 



104 BROKEX TO HAHXESS. 

was to be done? To lose the borough would be a tre- 
mendous blow to the Government, who had always looked 
upon it as their own, and to whom it was always sup- 
posed to owe allegiance. But the money? The night 
before the nomination, Mr. Simnel, with his face muffled 
in a huge handkerchief, despatched the following tele- 
graphic message to Mr. Weal, the Government whip, at 
the Eetrenchment Club: "No. 104 is putting on the 
steam at Combcardingham. If No. 102 does not do like- 
wise, up goes the sponge." While No. 102 Mall-Pall is 
the Retrenchment Club, No. 1 04 is, it is needless to say, 
the No Surrender (familiarly known as the Wig and 
Whiskers), the head-quarters of the Conservative party. 
By the early morning express a messenger, with a letter 
from Mr. Weal, arrived at Mr. Simnel's office, and during 
the day the doubts under which man}' of the electors 
suffered were satisfactorily explained away, and at the 
close of the poll Mr. Woof ham's name stood well ahead 
of his rival. Mr. Weal and his party did not forget their 
telegraphing friend at Combcardingham. After the elec- 
tion was over, Mr. Simnel was summoned to London, 
had an interview with certain of the Bit mrjorcs, and at 
the end of six months was inducted into the Secretary- 
ship of the Tin-Tax Office, then vacant. 

They did not like him at first at the Tin-Tax; they 
thought Bingham ought to have succeeded to the berth; 
and Bingham — who was a very gouty old gentleman, 
who took a great deal of snuff, and swore a great deal, 
and kept a pocket - dictionary in the right-hand top- 
drawer of his desk wherewith to correct his orthography 
— thought so too. But Sir Hickory Maddox. who was 
not merely very popular, but very much respected by his 
men, showed such thorough appreciation of Mr. Simnel's 
talents, and so thoroughly endorsed all the Secretary's 
acts, that the men began to waver in their allegiance to 
the Bingham faction; to think that Bingham was little 
better than an old idiot; that "new blood" in the secre- 
tariat might probably not only improve the status of the 
Tin-Tax Office, but get a new and improved scale for the 



"WITH THE HKCIU-YVWIY. 105 

clerks; and when they found that, aftr / a couple />f years, 
the new Secretary actually did accomplish this feat, the 
new Secretary was popular for ever. Popular officially, 
not privately. The juniors at the Tin-Tax had been in 
the habit of chaffing their late lamented secretary; of 
bribing him, by gifts of game and hothouse fruits, to 
grant them odd days and even weeks of leave of absence ; 
of chatting with him familiarly on current events. Mr. 
Si 1 unci's manners effectually checked all that kind of 
thing. With the Commissioners he might unbend; with 
the juniors he was adamant. But if he met one of his 
men in society, in the Opera lobby, or at a Botanical Fete, 
he would make a point of shaking hands with him as 
though they hadn't seen each other for ages, and of talk- 
ing with him of every subject possible- — except the Tin- 
Tax Office. 

The pile of papers for signature had melted to one 
solitary document, the floor was strewn with the evi- 
dences of Mr. Simnel's handiwork, and Mr. Simnel him- 
self sat nursing his leg and swaying himself gently to 
and fro in meditation. Occasionally he would pass his 
disengaged hand through his fringe of hair, and smile 
quietly to himself, then make a few figures on his blot- 
ting-pad, add them, and set-to rocking again. In the 
midst of this occupation he heard his door open, and 
looking up, saw Mr. Beresford. 

" Why, what the deuce does this mean?" he exclaimed, 
in surprise. " I thought you were on Tom Tiddler's 
ground, picking up unlimited gold and silver, wooing 
heiresses, and settling a Belgravian menage ; and you turn 
up in this dingy old barrack. Is it all over? — has the 
lady succumbed? and do you want me to help you to 
choose fire-irons and window-curtains?" 

Mr. Beresford did not reply for a minute; then he 
said, shortly and decisively, " I've been sold !" 

Mr. Simnel gave one short, loud whistle, and said 
interrogatively, " Wouldn't?" 

Mr. Beresford, seating himself on the edge of the 
table, looked up at Mr. Simnel, who had taken up his 



106 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

position on the rug, with his back to the empty fire. 
place, and said, "No chance; booked beforehand!" 

Whereupon Mr. Simnel gave a louder whistle, and 
said, "Tell!" 

"You know how I stand, Simnel, well enough," 
said Mr. Beresford; "and this looked a very safe coup, I 
thought, specially after I got yoiu' telegram. There 
were two or three fellows staying down at Bissett who I 
thought were on, too. Man named Lyster; do you know 
him? — tall man, dark beard, yaw-haw beast, from Indian 
army." 

"I know him!" was all Mr. Simnel's reply to this 
flattering sketch. 

" And another man, newspaper man, belongs to the 
' Retrenchment' and the ' Fly-by-night;' Churchill, you 
know." 

" / know Churchill. Was he going in for an heiress?" 

"No, not exactly; at least I thought so, but it turned 
out not. But I didn't like these fellows hanging about; 
specially Lyster — romantic party, sigh and that sort of 
business. So, when I found from you it was all right, I 
made up my mind to see where I was." 

"Well; and Miss Townshend wouldn't have it?" 

" Not at all! We were sitting after dinner, when the 
women had gone to the drawing-room, the very day I 
got your telegram, and old Wentworth told us there 
was a man coining down the next day, — Schrotter, or 
Schroder, a German merchant in Mincing Lane — " 

" I know him," interrupted Simnel : " Gustav Schro- 
der; elderly man. What took him to Bissett?" 

"Love, sir — love! he's engaged to be married to Miss 
Townshend !" 

"Whew!" said Mr. Simnel, with his longest and 
shrillest whistle. " The deuce he is ! That is news ! 
How does the young lady like it?" 

"Well, not much. She couldn't, of course, be ex- 
pected to feel very enthusiastic about a short, stout, 
gray-headed German, who talks the most infernal jargon, 
and hasn't got a sound tooth in his head. Took him 



WITH THE SECRETARY. 107 

out shooting once, but lie made the most awful mess of 
it ; devilish near shot the beaters, and sprained his ankle 
leaping- a half-foot ditch. The girl seemed horribly 
ashamed of him, and of his clumsy compliments and 
elephantine gambols; but she's evidently booked — her 
father takes care of that." 

" Ah, ha!" said Mr. Simnel, nursing his knee, rocking 
himself to and fro, and rapidly going off into an absent 
fit; "ah, ha!" 

" I hate to hear you say ' ah, ha,' Simnel!" said Mr. 
Bcrcsford, with some asperity. "You're always up to 
gome plottings and plans when you utter those seem- 
ingly benevolent grunts. I suppose you suspect old 
Townshend of some grand diablerie in this affair. I 
never could make out what it is that you know about 
that old gentleman." 

"Know about him?" said Simnel, rousing himself 
with a laugh; "that he gives capital dinners and has 
plenty of money; that he's about to marry his daughter 
to one of the richest men in the City. What more need 
one know about a man? I don't know what church he 
goes to, or what peculiar shade of religion he affects; 
whether he's a good father or a bad one; whether he 
rules his daughter, or is ruled by her. But I do know 
that he drinks Tod-Heatly's champagne, and banks at 
the London and Westminster. This news looks fishy 
for your business, Beresford!" 

" Simply a case of stump," said Mr. Beresford, rising 
from the table, plunging his hands into his trousers- 
pockets, and striding up and down the room. 

" What do you mean to do?" 

" Borrow two hundred pounds more of you," exclaimed 
Beresford, stopping short on the edge of the rug, and 
confronting Mr. Simnel. 

"And then?" asked the latter gentleman, smiling 
calmly. 

"God knows!" said Beresford, with something like a 
shudder. " Something must turn up; the Bishop must 
die or Lady Lowndes, and there'd be a safe something 
from them; or there'll be some girl — " 



108 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

"Ye-es," interrupted Mr. Simnel drily, seating him- 
self at Ms desk, and unlocking a draw therein. " You're 
the most marvellously sanguine fellow, perfectly Micawber- 
ish in your notions of something turning up, and your 
making a coup. But — suppose t'other! suppose it didn't 
come off! Now you owe me,'' — looking at a paper 
which he took from the drawer, — " six hundred pounds 
already, and I've only got insurance policies for security." 

" You get your interest," growled Beresford. 

" A mild six," said Mr. Simnel, with a shrug of his 
shoulders and his pleasant smile. " A mild six ; just 
what I should get in Bombay Preference, or Great 
Luxembourg Centrals, or a dozen other safe investments. 
However, you shall have this two hundred; but I should 
be elad to see vour way in the future. Is there no 
girl with money whom you think you could propose to 
speedily?" 

" Not one," said Beresford, stopping in his walk and 
reseating himself on the table. " Oh, by Jove, I forgot 
to tell you that." 

"What?" 

" About Kate Mellon, — tremendous scene just before 
I left;" and Mr. Beresford proceeded to recount the 
dialogue between him and Kate Mellon, which was re- 
corded in the fourth chapter of this story. He told the 
tale honestly throughout, and when he had finished he 
looked up in Mr. Simnel 's face, and said, " Deuced 
awkward position, wasn't it?" 

Mr. Simnel had not lost one word of the story; on 
the contrary, he had listened to it with the greatest 
eagerness and interest, but he did not answer Mr. Beres- 
ford's final query. He had fallen into his old, leg- 
nursing attitude, and was rocking himself silently to and 
fro. 

"Devilish unpleasant, wasn't it?" reiterated Mr. 
Beresford. 

"Eh!" said Mr. Simnel in a loud high key. "Yes, 
most unpleasant, of course. We'll talk more about that; 
but you must be off now. To-day's only half a day, you 
know; and I've got all sorts of things to do before I go. 



WITH THE SKCKKTAUY. 109 

You shall have that two hundred on Monday, all right, 
(iood-by! see yon on Monday;" and the Secretary shook 
hands with the Commissioner until the latter was fairly 
outside the door. 

Then Mr. Simnel returned to his desk, and took up 
his leg again. 

" It seems to be coming on now," he said to himself, 
" and all together too. The old man always meant little 
Alice for a Duke, and now to let her go to such carrion 
as old Schroder; that looks like smash. He holds heavily 
in Pernambucos, in Cotopaxis, and other stuff that's run 
down like water lately; and he must have dropped at 
least ten thousand in that blessed Bird-in-the-Hand in- 
surance. I think the time has come to put the screw 
on, and I don't think" — turning to a drawer and taking 
from an envelope a paper yellow with age — " that he'll 
dishonour this. What an awful time ago it seems! 
There," — replacing the paper, — "go back till you're 
wanted. You've kept so long that — Ah, by Jove! the 
other business! To be married, eh? To be married, 
Kate?" releasing his leg and plucking at his lips. " To 
be married to Master Charley Beresford! not while I 
live, my child! not while I live, and have power to turn 
a screw on in your direction too!" 



CHAPTER XII. 

WHERE ME. PRINGLE WEISTT TO. 

It has been notified in a previous chapter that Mr. 
Pringle was in some mental anxiety touching the acqui- 
sition of a certain twenty pounds which he required 
for immediate disbursement. This position he held in 
common with many of his colleagues at the Tin-Tax 
Office, and indeed with most junior clerks in the Civil 
Service. "The truth is," says Captain Smoke, in 
Douglas Jerrold's comedy, The Buttles of the Day, " I 
want a thousand pounds." " My dear Smoke," says his 
friend, " there never was a man yet that did not want a 
thousand pounds." The truth of the axiom is undeniable ; 
only in the Civil Service the amount is much diminished. 
Twenty pounds, familiarly known as a "twentyer," is 
generally the much-desiderated sum among /the junior 
slaves of the Crown; and it was for a "twentyer" that 
Mr. Pringle now pined. A hosier who some two years 
before had sued for Mr. Pringle's custom, nor sued in 
vain, — who had supplied him with under-linen of fine 
texture and high price, with shirts of brilliant and varie- 
gated patterns, with boating jerseys and socks so vivid 
in stripe that his legs resembled those of the functionary 
in the opening of the pantomime who by the boys in the 
gallery is prematurely recognised as the future clown, 
owing to the resplendent beauty of his ankles, — at length, 
after repeated transmissions of his " little account," and 
after mystic hints that he had not yet seen the colour of 
Mr. Pringle's money, brought into action the terrible 
engines of the law, and summoned his debtor to the 
County Court. 



WHERE MR. TRINGLE WENT TO. Ill 

It was at the very latter end of the quarter when 
this legal ukase was placed in Mr. Pringle's hands, and 
that gentleman, examining his capital, found it consist 
of thirty-seven shillings, a silver threepence, and a penny, 
— which sums were to provide his dinners, cigars, and 
general pleasures for a fortnight. Clearly, then, out of 
this no compromise could be effected; he could not even 
go through that performance so dear to the hard-pressed 
debtor, which is temporarily so soothing and in the end 
so futile, known as paying " something on account." A 
five-pound note has the same effect on a tradesman to 
whom twenty pounds are owing as a wet brush on a very 
bad hat, — it creates a temporary gleam of comfort, out 
nothing more. Mr. Pringle had not even this resource: 
if he were summoned to the County Court, and if the in- 
vestigation were reported, as it was sure to be, in The 
Decision Dreadnought and De Beauvoir Town Looker-on, 
he should get horribly chaffed by his comrades, perhaps 
pitched into by the Board, and it would bring all his 
other creditors down on him. So something must be 
done, and cash must be raised at once. Mr. Pringle did 
not know where to turn : he had never been a borrower, 
and hated the idea of asking money favours from his 
friends; moreover, in real truth, he would not have 
known whom to turn to, had he been so minded. Pres- 
cott, his Pylades, was by no means overburdened with 
money — indeed, Mr. Pringle had reason to believe, was 
himself pressed by creditors; Kinchenton's income only 
sufficed for the keeping up of his modest establishment 
and for the schooling of Percy; while Dibb, Crump, 
Boppy, or any of the other office men, were utterly im- 
practicable in such a case. Finally, he determined that 
he must "do a bill;" an act of which he had hitherto 
been innocent, and towards the proper accomplishment 
of which he thought it best to take the advice of Mr. 
Rittman. 

In nearly every Government office there is one im- 
pecunious black sheep, — one clerk who is always hover- 
ing on the edge of the precipice of insolvency, over which 



112 BROKEN TO HAKXESS. 

he finally tumbles, to creep out with life indeed, but 
with scars and bruises which last him during the re- 
mainder of his official existence. This character was in 
the Tin-Tax Office played by Mr. Rittman, who for years 
had been " in difficulties," and was thoroughly versed in 
every species of money-borrowing, Avere it the loan-simple 
from a friend, the loan-complex on a bill with a friend's 
name, the life-insurance facile, the loan-office ruinous, 
the bill of sale advertised, or the pawnbroker low. As 
yet no learned Commissioner had sat in judgment on 
Mr. Eittman's pecuniary transactions, but he had been 
in sponging-houses, in Whitecross Street, and in the 
Queen's Bench; and though his end was rapidly ap- 
proaching (for he had a couple of sons verging on man- 
hood, and apparently inheriting all their father's frailties), 
he was never despondent, but maintained a creditable 
appearance and a cheerful manner. To him Mr. Pringle 
had gone, on the day before that on which we first made 
his acquaintance; and Mr. Rittman, from the young 
man's manner on entering the room, at once guessed the 
object of his visit. 

"How do, Rittman?" commenced Mr. Pringle. 

" Good morning, my dear sir — good morning!" said 
the gentleman addressed, laying down his pen and bow- 
ing pleasantly. He had on a voluminous white waist- 
coat, a great show of shirt-wristband, and before him, in 
a tumbler, stood some choice flowers. "Seldom you 
come down to this part of the building; keep to the 
more aristocratic end — eh?" and Mr. Rittman smiled, 
and showed a good set of teeth. 

" ]S T o ! I don't know — the truth is — I want some advice, 
and I think you're the man to give it to me." 

"My dear sir, I shall be delighted. What is it?" 
(this thrown off at a tangent to a messenger who ap- 
peared in the doorway, saying, "Ere's Brown's man 
agen, Mr. Rittman"). "Ah! Brown's man; well, you'd 
better say I've not yet returned from Jersey, but you 
expect me on Tuesday. — And now, my dear sir; you 
were saying — some advice?" 



WHERE MR. I'RINdlYE WEXT TO. 113 

"Well, the fact is, Eittman, I'm hard up, and I want 
to borrow some money; and I thought you could — " 

" Not lend you any? that would be almost too deli- 
cious, my dear sir. You didn't think I could lend you 
any?" and Mr. Eittman screamed with laughter at the 
absurdity of the idea. 

" No, no, of course not; but I thought you might tell 
me where I could get it." 

" Oh, that's a totally different thing; of course I can. 
I rather pique myself upon knowing more about such 
matters than most men. Of course I can. Now, let me 
sec — what security can you give?" 

"Eh?" asked Mr. Pringle. 

" Security for the repayment? If you borrow from 
the Rainy Day or Amicable Nest-Eggs Insurance Office, 
you must give two sureties, householders, and insure for 
double the amount of the loan. If you go to the Helping- 
Hand or the Leg-up Loan Office, you must give three 
sureties, householders, and pay a lot for office-fees and 
inquiries, which are made by a dirty-faced man at a 
pound a week. If you give a bill of sale on your furni- 
ture—" 

"My good sir," said Pringle testily, "I've got no 
furniture. And surely all this bother can't be necessary 
for the sum I want — only twenty pounds." 

" Twenty pounds! twenty pounds! a fieabite, a mere 
fleabite!" said Mr. Eittman (he had three and sevenpence 
in his pocket at the moment, and did not know in the 
least where to turn for more). " I hoped you were going 
to call my generalship into play; for I may say, without 
boasting, that when it's not for myself, I am fertile in 
resources. But — twenty pounds — I'll give you the ad- 
dress of a man who'll let you have it at once." 

'• There won't be any names wanted, or any thing of 
that sort, will there?" asked Pringle, rather doubtful of 
this promptitude. 

"Nothing of the kind; merely your acknowledgment. 
Here's the address — Scadgers, Newman Street. You'll 
find Mr. Scadgers a curious man, but very pleasant; and 

I 



114 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

when you say you come from me, he'll be very polite. 
And, Mr. Pringle, let me give you one word ©f advice — 
Be firm in the matter of Madeira." 

" In the matter of Madeira?" 

"Yes, awful; you can't stand it. Ostades are bad 
enough, or a Stradivarius fiddle; and perhaps, as you're 
a single man in apartments, a key-bugle mightn't do, as 
likely to be objected to by the other lodgers — but any of 
them rather than the Madeira." 

In the middle of Newman Street stands a paintless 
door, in the centre of which gleams a brass-plate, bearing 
the word " Scadgers," in fat Eoman capitals. Nothing 
else. No "Mr.;" no description of Scadgers' profession; 
nothing to break the charm. "Scadgers" stands an 
oasis of shining brass in a desert of lustreless deal, and 
winks knowingly at the double-faced portrait, one half 
dirty, the other half clean, at the picture-restorer's over 
the way. Scadgers' door differed from its fellows in 
having but one bell-handle ; for Scadgers had quite 
enough business to occupy the whole house, and to de- 
mand ramifications in the neighbourhood. All we have 
to do, in the course of this story, is to deal with Scadgers 
as Scadgers; but my private belief is that Scadgers was 
the Universal Philanthropic Man's a Man for a' that 
Loan Office, held at the Blue Pig and Toothache in 
"Wells Street; that he was "Cash promptly advanced 
on furniture without removal, freehold and leasehold 
property, legacies, reversions, warrants, and all other 
securities. Sheriffs' executions and rent-distraint im- 
mediately paid out" {vide advertisement); — that he was 
" Methuselah's Muffin-Powder, or Never say Die" patent 
medicine, and proprietor-in-chief of "The Hob," a do- 
mestic Miscellany, which commenced with weak romance, 
and failed, but has since achieved an enormous success 
for itself, and a fortune for its spirited proprietor, by the 
publication of " Baby Clarence; or, My Life at Brompton." 
Certainly you could not have guessed Scadgers' occupa- 
tion from the outside of his residence, which looked like 
a dirty lodging-house, like a third-rate boarding-house, 



WHERE MR. PRINGLE WENT TO. 115 

like those melancholy houses occupied by those most 
melancholy people on earth, third-rate piano-sellers ; like 
a house let in rooms to people who lithograph fashion- 
plates; like any thing but what it was — a house where 
more money was made than in nine-tenths of the houses 
in London. 

When Mr. Pringle arrived on the Scadgerian steps, 
he looked for a knocker, and finding none, he pulled the 
Scadgerian bell. A responsive click and the partial 
unlatching of the door invited him to push; the door 
yielded, and he found himself in a large and empty hall, 
on one side of which was a glass door, with the word 
" Office" in faded gilt letters on a white ground. This 
glass-door being open, Mr. Pringle walked straight 
through, and found himself in the "office." He had 
seen a good many offices in his time, but never one like 
this. He had never seen an office with musical instru- 
ments in it before; and here were four or five pianos 
standing ranged against the wall, to say nothing of harps 
in leather cases leaning drunkenly in corners, and a few 
cornets-a-piston in green boxes, and a guitar or two with 
blue ribbons to hang them round your neck by, just as 
if they had come fresh from the necks of Spanish donnas. 
And there were slack-baked-looking old pictures in heavy 
Dutch-metal frames — fine specimens of old masters — 
saints with skulls and Bibles in front of them, and very 
ascetic cheek-bones and great phrenological development 
of talent and courage; Dutch boors standing on one leg 
and drinking glasses of ale, and yawning youths with an 
effect of shaded candle-light on their faces. There were 
modern pictures, too, of lakes and Thames scenery, and 
girls with fair hair, which, when compared with the old 
ones, looked as if they had been painted in milk-and- 
water; and there were three driving- whips in one corner, 
a set of harness across a chair, and the leather cushions 
of a brougham under it. There was a bronze umbrella- 
stand, formed by a dog holding a whip in his mouth, a 
big French clock, and a couple of chemist's bottles, red 
and green; and in the midst of all this confusion stood a 



116 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

little shrivelled old man, with very white hair and a very- 
red face — a dirty little old man, dressed in a rusty suit 
of black, w T ho addressed Mr. Pringle in a rusty creaking 
voice, and wanted to know " his pleasure." 

"I — I wish to speak to Mr. Scadgers," said Mr. 
Pringle, with a modesty and hesitation altogether strange 
to him. 

"Ah!" said the little old man; "deary me! yes!" and 
then he seated himself on the edge of a wine-hamper, 
and began to count his fingers with great interest, as 
though not quite sure of the number he really possessed. 

"Mr. Scadgers!" said Pringle, after a minute or two. 

"All, yes! I'll call him," said the little old man, and 
rang a bell which lurked in the corner of the chimney- 
piece. 

A great creaking of uncarpeted stairs under heavy 
boots followed this bell-ringing, and presently Mr. Scad- 
gers entered the room. Mr. Scadgers' appearance partook 
©f the charming amenities of the prize-fighter and the 
undertaker: his hair was black and close-cropped, his 
face white, his nose red, one eye was considerably larger 
than the other, and one corner of his mouth had a pecu- 
liar upward twist. He was dressed in black, with a pair 
of dull leather boots reaching half-way up his thighs; 
and as he came through the door, he took a red silk 
pocket-handkerchief from the crown of his hat, and 
mopped his head. 

"Servant, sir!" said Mr. Scadgers, surveying Mr. 
Pringle with his gleaming black eyes, and reckoning 
him up in a moment. " What may you want?" 

" Well," said Mr. Pringle, " I wanted a few minutes' 
conversation; but private, if you please — " 

" Oh!" interrupted Mr. Scadgers, "don't mind Jinks; 
he's safe enough- — knows all my affairs — thoroughly to be 
trusted." 

" Well, then," said Mr. Pringle, hesitating; then, with 
a desperate rush, "look here!— Jact is — want money!" 

"Ah!" said Mr. Scadgers, with something like ad- 
miration in his tone, "got it out with a rush, difla't 



W1IKUE .All!. PRIXCILE WENT TO. 117 

you? That's the only way! Who told you to come to 
ine?" 

" Mr. Rittman, of the—" 

" I know — Tin-tax Office. Do you belong to it? 
Thought so. Wretched office; lost a mint of money in. 
that office. What salary do you get?" 

Mr. Pringle mentioned that he was in the receipt of 
ninety pounds a-year. 

'•Ah! twenty-one eighteen and nine on the 5th of 
every third month — I know all about it ! Now " mop- 
ping his head, "how much do you want?" 

" Twenty pounds." 

" Lor' bless me! and when do you want it?" 

"At once!" 

"Can't be done, sir! can't be done!" Violent mop- 
ping. '• Haven't got any money in the house. Can't 
you look in next week, and I might let you have ten?" 

Mr. Pringle roundly asserted that this would not do 
at all, and turned round towards the door. 

" Stop, sir!" shouted Mr. Scadgers, making tremendous 
play with the red-silk handkerchief. " What a hasty young 
man you are! Look here," — taking out his purse, — 
'■here's a ten -pound note that I promised to young 
Stephens of the Wafer Office; he was to have been here 
by two; now its getting on for three, and he's not come. 
I might let you have that!" 

" But that's only ten!" said Mr. Pringle. 

'• Only ten! what a way to speak of money! Wait, 
sir, wait; let us see what we can do. Any one likely to 
look in this afternoon to pay any interest, Jinks?" 

"Too late now!" said Jinks, with brevity. 

"Ah! too late — I dessay! Just look in the cash- 
box, Jinks, and see what's there; though I'm afraid it's 
not much. I should say there wasn't more than three 
pounds, Jinks!" 

Mr. Jinks peered into a little cash-box on the desk 
before him, and answered, " Just three pound!" 

"Ah! bring 'em out, Jinks; give 'em here. Let's 
see — ten and three's thirteen; and that only leaves me 



118 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

seven-and-six to go on with till Monday! Never mind: 
you could have thirteen, Mr. — " 

" But I want twenty!" 

"Ah, so you do! Pity you don't want some wine! 
I've got some Madeiry as would— but wine ain't money, 
is it? There's a splendid picture, now — a Murillo: you 
might take that." 

" Pictures are not more money than wine; are they?" 

" Ain't they? That Murillo's worth ten pound, and 
any one would give you that for it. Ain't there no one 
you could sell it to ? You see you're in such a hurry for 
the money, or you might offer it to the National Gallery, 
or some swell collecting of pictures might buy it, but 
you're so pressed. Tell you what you might do, though," 
said Mr. Scadgers, as though struck by a sudden inspira- 
tion: " you might pawn it." 

" How the deuce could I go lugging that picture 
about the streets to pawn it?" said Pringle testily. 

" No, to be sure ! Stay, look here ! I dare say Jinks 
wouldn't mind pawning it for you. Jinks, look here; 
just run with this round the corner, will you? Get as 
much as you can, you know." And without more ado, 
Mr. Jinks put on a reddish-black napless hat, tucked the 
picture under his arm, and started off. 

While he was gone, Mr. Scadgers asked Mr. Pringle 
what his name was, how long he had been in the office, 
where he lodged, and other home-thrusting questions; 
and presently Mr. Jinks returned without the picture, 
but with three sovereigns and a printed ticket, which he 
delivered to his master, saying, "Wouldn't do no more 
than three." 

"Three!" said Mr. Scadgers. "Well, that's nearer 
to twenty than we was, isn't it? Now, Mr. Pringle," — 
taking a slip of stamped paper from his pocket-book — 
"just you sign your name at the bottom here. All 
correct, you see. Fifth of next month, — promise to pay, 
— value received, — and all the rest of it; and I'll hand 
you over sixteen pounds and the ticket; and when you 
get that picture out, you'll have a treasure." 



WHERE MK. princee went to. 119 

" Oh, curse the picture !" said Pringle ruefully. 

" Ah," said Mr. Scadgers, grinning, " that's what they 
all says. Cuss the picture ! Well, if that ticket ain't 
any use to you, I don't mind giving you half a pound 
for it." 

"I thought you had only seven-and-sixpence left?" 

"No more I have, myself; but I might borrow half a 
pound from Jinks. What do you say? Ah, I thought 
so. Here, Jinks, put this little dockyment along with 
your other valuables. Here's the half pound, sir. Now 
let's look at your signature. George Townshend Pringle! 
Very nice. No relation to Mr. Townshend, of Austin 
Friars — the great Townshend?" 

" He's my uncle," said Pringle. " I'm named after 
him." 

"Indeed! named after him! A very capital con- 
nexion. Good morning, sir! good morning! I'll look 
in upon you on the fifth." 

But after Mr. Pringle had gone, Mr. Scadgers still 
stood with the bill fluttering between his fingers, mutter- 
ing to himself: " Sing'ler that ! very sing'ler! For years 
I hadn't seen the Runner until yesterday, when I came 
across him in Cheapside; and now to-day I hear of him 
again. I wonder," added Mr. Scadgers, with a very 
sinister smile, " whether that little account between me 
and the Runner will ever be wound up? I've owed him 
one this many a year." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

MR. peescott's peoceedings. 

The Hansom cab conveying Mr. Prcscott went at a 
rapid pace along the Strand, through the Pali-Mall dis- 
trict, and by divers short cuts into Piccadilly. There 
■was nothing to stop it ; there were no blocks or stop- 
pages; and as it was the dead season of the year, and 
every one was out of town, the Commissioners of Sewers 
were good enough to leave the roads alone ; reserving 
until the traffic was in full play their right to erect 
gigantic, hideous hoardings in the most crowded tho- 
roughfares. The streets were deserted, the public build- 
ings shut up, dust and straw and dirty paper whirled 
about in the eddying gusts of the autumnal wind, and 
the entire appearance of London was dull and wretched. 
People had evidently been in doubt what to do about 
dress; and while some were in the faded gaiety of the 
just-departed summer, others were putting on an even 
shadier appearance in the creased and awkward garments 
of the previous winter. The doctors' carriages and the 
hack-cabs had the thoroughfares to themselves ; the 
occupants of the former, always on the watch for the 
recognition of some favoured patient, sat back in their 
vehicles, engaged either in the perusal of some medical 
work, or in happy day-dreams of increased practice, studs 
of wearied horses, noble introductions, enormous fees, — 
all culminating, perhaps, in baronetcies and appointments 
at Court. 

Of the hack-cabs seen about, but few were Hansoms ; 
for at that season men who want to go quickly, and don't 
mind paying a shilling a mile, are at a discount. Now 



Mil. PRESCOTT S I'ltOCKEDIXCIS. 121 

and then <i sun-tanned swell, whose portmanteau atop 
nearly obstructed the driver's sight, and who himself was 
but dimly visible among gun-cases, hat-boxes, and rail- 
way-rugs, might have been encountered, passing from 
one terminus to another; but the " reg'lar riders," — the 
lawyer's clerk, with, the tape-tied bundle of papers, who 
charges his cab to "the office;" the lounging swell; the 
M.P dashing down to the House; the smug-faced capi- 
talist, whose brain is full of calculation, and who sits the 
whole way to the City smiling at all and seeing none; 
the impecunious speculator, who rides in a cab because 
he cannot afford to be seen in an omnibus, — all these 
were away from London. And the four-wheelers, though 
laden, had but dreary burdens: the fortnight at Margate 
is over; no more morning dips, no more afternoon ram- 
bles on the sands, no donkey-backs, no pleasure-boats, 
no Pegwell Bay now! Paterfamilias is once more Hobbs 
and Motchkin's out-door at thirty shillings a week; the 
eight-roomed house in Navarino Terrace, Camden Town, 
resumes its wonted appearance; the children return to 
the " curriculum" of education at Miss Gimp's in the 
Crescent; and save the sand-covered little wooden spades 
which hang from the hat-pegs in the passage, naught 
remains of their maritime excursion. 

Dreary, dreary, every where! Dreary down in old 
country mansions, where, while the men are pheasant- 
shooting in the woods, the ladies look dismally on what 
was lately the croquet-ground, where the gardeners are 
now busy sweeping up the leaves, and pressing them 
into huge barrows, and wheeling them away; where the 
trees stand out gaunt and brown, and where the ever- 
greens bordering the pleasant walks rustle with the au- 
tumnal winds; where the cracks, and flaws, and damp- 
nesses of old country mansions begin to make themselves 
unpleasantly conspicuous; and where the servants, town- 
bred, commence to be colded, sniffy, to have shivers and 
"creeps." Dreary at the sea-side, where the storm- 
soaked, worm-eaten jetty, lately echoing to the pattering 
feet of children, or the sturdy tread of the visitor taking 



122 BROKEN TO HAIOTESS. 

his constitutional, is now given over to its normal fre- 
quenters — tarry-trousered men in blue jerseys and oil- 
skin sou'-wester hats, who are always looking out for 
some boat that never arrives, or some storm which 
always comes when they do not expect it; bills are stuck 
on the pleasant plate-glass bow windows so lately filled 
with pretty girls, rosy children, and parents who dined 
at two o'clock, and enjoyed their nuts and port-wine 
" looking over the sea;" and the proprietors of the lodg- 
ing-houses, who have lived in damp back-kitchens since 
June, are once more seen above-ground. Dreary in Con- 
tinental towns, where home-returning English are finding 
out that they have spent too much money on their trip, 
and bewailing the Napoleons left as a tribute to the 
managers of the Homburgh Bank; where the discom- 
forts of the return sea-passage first assert themselves, and 
where couriers and innkeepers are going in for their last 
grand turn of robbery and swindle. Dreary, dreary, 
every where! but specially dreary in Hyde Park, at the 
Piccadilly gates, at which Mr. Prescott leaves his Han- 
som, and strolls into Eotten Eow. 

A blank desert of posts and rails and dry dusty 
gravel; a long strip of iron-enclosed sand and grit, with 
half a dozen figures in the three-quarter mile range to 
break the dull monotony. As Prescott mooned drearily 
along, at five-minute intervals he would hear the sound 
of a horse's hoofs, and turning rapidly, would find some 
easy-going steed doing its quiet sanitary business for its 
owner, a man who, either from circumstances or disposi- 
tion, never quitted London, but was to be seen at some 
time or other of the day in the Row, no matter what 
might be the time of year. Interspersed with these 
were grooms, riding in that groomy undress of wide- 
awake hat, short, stiff shirt-collar, and tight-fitting, yel- 
low-clay-coloured trousers, trying the wind and bottom 
of some that were meant to be flyers in the approaching 
hunting-season; beasts with heavy, strong quarters, long 
backs, short, sharp heads, and rolling eyes, with a pre- 
ponderance of white always showing. Country-bred is 



MR, prescott's proceedings. 123 

Mr. Prcseolt, and cannot therefore divest himself of a 
certain camiiness in the matter of horseflesh : now and 
then he leans over the rail to follow the progress of a 
horseman flying past, with his hands well down, and 
every muscle of his steed brought into splendid play; 
or the healthy gymnastics of a valetudinarian, who had 
learned exactly the utmost amount of exercise to be de- 
rived from his horse as compared with the least amount 
of discomfort to be endured by himself. But these do 
not rivet his attention; and he passes on until he is 
nearly abreast of the Serpentine, when, looking back, he 
sees a blue skirt fluttering in the wind, and in an instant 
recognising its wearer, pulls up by the rails and waits her 
advent. 

It does not take long for that chestnut mare to cover 
the distance, albeit she is being ridden from side to side, 
and is evidently receiving her " finishing" in the elegan- 
cies of the manege. In less than two minutes she is pulled 
up short by the rails where Prescott is standing, and her 
rider, Kate Mellon, with the colour flushing in her cheeks, 
with her eyes aglow, with her hair a trifle dishevelled from 
the exercise, is sitting bolt upright, and with the handle 
of her riding-whip giving the young gentleman a mock 
salute. 

" Servant, colonel!" says she. 

" How do you do, Kate?" says Prescott, leaning for- 
ward and touching the neat little white caff on her wrist; 
" I thought I should find you here." 

" More than I thought of you!" says the lady. "Why 
ain't you counting up those figures, and adding and sub- 
tracting, and all the rest of it you do in your office, eh?" 

" To-day's a half-holiday, Kitty — Saturday, youknow," 
says Prescott, with rather a grim smile; for he does not 
like that rough description of his official duties. 

"Oh, ah!" says the lady, with great simplicity; 
" Saturday, ah! Confounded nuisance sometimes! Lost 
my net veil one Saturday afternoon here in the Row; 
went to Marshall and Snelgrove's on my way home; all 
shut up tight as wax!" 



124 BROKKX TO HARNESS. 

" You're better than you were yesterday, at the sta- 
tion?" 

" Oh, yes ; I'm all right ; I shall do well enough ! 
Wo-ho! steady, old lady!" (this to the mare). "I'm 
always better in town. Don't let's stand here; I can't 
hold this mare quiet, and that's the truth; she frets on 
the curb most awful." 

" Most awfully, Kitty, not most awful. I've told you 
of that a hundred times." 

" Well, most awfully, if you like it better. Steady, 
Poll! Walk along by my side. Who are you, I should 
like to know, to pull me up about my talking? What 
right have you to lecture me about my grammar and 
that?" 

" What right?" asks Prescott, suddenly turning white; 
" none, save the fact of my loving you, Kitty. You know 
it well enough, though I've never told you in so many 
words. You know that I do love you! You can't have 
seen me hanging about you during the last season, making 
excuses to come to your place, first there and last to go, 
hating every man who had more chances of talking to 
you than I had, — you can't have seen all this without 
knowing that I loved you, Kitty!" 

The mare is pulled suddenly up; there is no one near 
them in the blank desert of the Row; and her rider says, 
•'And suppose I did know it,' — what then?" 

Prescott shrugs his shoulders and looks upon the 
ground, but does not reply. 

" Have you ever had one word of encouragement from 
me? Have you ever seen a look of mine which has led 
you on? Can you say that, suppose I tell you to let me 
hear no more of this, — as I do tell you at once and for 
ever, — I have deceived or thrown you over in any one 
wav?" 

""Never!" 

" Thank Gocl for that!" says the girl, with some bit- 
terness; "for that's a chalk in my favour, at least. Kbw 
look here! I know you, James Prescott; and I know 
that you're too good a man — too well brought up and 



MR. PRESCOTT'S PROCEEDING. 125 

fond of home and that sort of thing — to hint any thing 
but -what's right towards me." 

" Kitty!" 

" There — I know it. Don't break a blood-vessel 
with your emotion," she added, gently tapping him on 
the shoulder with her riding-whip. " All right. Well, 
suppose we were married, you'd feel very jolly, wouldn't 
you, while you were down at your office doing your sums 
and things, which you got so riled when I spoke of just 
now, to think that Tom Orme, and Clavcrhouse, and De 
Bonnet, and a whole lot of fellows, were mooning about 
this place with me?" 

"I'd wring all their necks!" says honest Jim Pres- 
cott, looking excessively wobegone. 

" Exactly. But you see, if you wrung their necks, 
they would not send their wives and sisters and daugh- 
ters to be taught riding at The Den ; they would noi 
commission me to look out for ladies' hacks, to break 
them, and bring them into order; and my trade would 
be gone. And we couldn't live on the twopence-half- 
penny a-year you get from your office, Jim, old fellow." 

" I know that, Kitty," said poor Prescott; " I know 
all that; but—" 

" Hold on half a second!" interrupted Kate; "let us 
look the thing straight in the face, and have it out, Jim, 
now and for ever. I know you — know you're a thorough- 
going good fellow, straight as an arrow, and know that if 
you married me, you'd stick to me till you dropped. 
But you'd have a hard time, Jim — an awful hard time!" 

" I should not mind that, Kitty. I'd work for you — " 

" Oh, it isn't in that way I mean. But how would 
you stand having to break off with your o vn people for 
your wife's sake? How could you take me down to your 
governor's parsonage, and introduce me there? How 
tvould my manners and my talk please your mother and 
sisters? It's madness, Jim, — it's worse than madness, — 
to talk of such a scheme. Shake hands, and let's be al- 
ways good friends — the best of friends. If you ever want 
ft good turn that I can do, you know where I'm to bt» 



126 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

found. God bless you, old boy; but never mention this 
subject again!" 

James Prescott gave a great gulp at a lump which was 
rising in his throat, and warmly grasped Kate Mellon's 
proffered hand. As she raised her eyes he noticed her 
colour fade, and saw a troubled expression in her face. 

" Good by, Jim," she said hurriedly. " Just strike 
down that path, will you? Get away quickly; here's 
some one coming; and — and I don't want to be seen 
talking to you. Quick! there's a good fellow. Good 
by." 

She touched her horse with her slight whip, and can- 
tered off at once. Prescott looked in the direction she 
had indicated, and saw Mr. Simnel, mounted on a hand- 
some thoroughbred, calmly curveting up the Row. 

What could there be between Kate Mellon and Robert 
Simnel? 



CHAPTER XIV- 

MISS LEXDEN ON MATRIMONY. 

After that episode at the stile, which, as it happened, 
formed such a crisis in their destinies, Barbara Lexden 
and Frank Churchill did not move towards the house, 
but quietly turned into that fir plantation through which 
they had strolled some days previously on their return 
from the shooting party. At first neither spoke; Barbara 
walked with her eyes downcast, and Churchill strolled 
idly by her side; then, after a few paces, he took her 
unresisting hand and placed it in his arm. She looked 
up into his face with calm, earnest, trustful eyes, and he 
bowed his head until, for the first time in his life, his 
lips touched hers, and as he withdrew them he murmured, 
" My darling ! my own darling ! thank God for this !" 
His arm stole round her waist, and for an instant he 
held her tightly clasped ; then gently releasing her, he 
again passed her hand through his arm, covered it with 
his other hand, and walked on quietly by her side. There 
was no need of speech ; it was all known, all settled, all 
arranged; that restored glove, that one fervent sentence, 
that one look in which each seemed to read the secrets 
of the other's soul, had done it all. This was first love, 
undisturbed by the fact that on either side there had 
probably been some half-dozen attacks of that spurious 
article, that saccharine bliss, that state of pleasant tor- 
ture which reveals itself in sheep-like glances and deep- 
drawn sighs, in a tendency to wear tight boots and to 
increase the already over-swollen tailor's bill, to groan 
and be poetical, and to shrink from butchers' meat. Al- 



J28 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

though the existent state of Barbara and Churchill had 
none of these characteristics, it was still first lore. 

Marvellous, marvellous time ! so short in its duration, 
but leaving such an indelible impress on the memory! 
A charming period, a hashccsh-dveam. impossible ever to 
be renewed, a prolonged intoxication scarcely capable of 
realisation in one's sober moments. A thing of once, 
which gone never comes again, but leaves behind it re- 
membrances which, while they cause the lips to curl at 
their past folly, yet give the heart a twinge in the reflec- 
tion that the earnestness which outbalanced the folly, the 
power of entering into and being swayed by them, the 
youth — that is it, after all; confess it! — the youth is 
vanished for ever and aye. What and where was the 
glamour, the power of which you dimly remember but 
cannot recall? Put aside the claret- jug, and, with your 
feet on the fender, as you sit alone, try and analyse that 
bygone time. The form comes clearly out of the mist: 
the dark-brown banded hair, the quiet earnest eyes, the 
slight lissome figure and delicate hands; and with them 
a floating reminiscence of a violet perfume, a subtle, de- 
licate essence, which made your heart beat with extra 
vigour even before your eyes rested on what they longed 
for. Kisses and hand-clasps and ardent glances were the 
current coin of those days; one of either of the former 
missed, say at parting for the night, for instance, made 
you wretched; one of the latter shot in a different direc- 
tion sent you to toss sleepless all night on your bed, and 
to rise with the face of a murderer, and with something 
not very different from the mind of one. There were 
heartaches in those days, real, dead, dull pains, sickening 
longings, spasms of hope and fear; dim dread of missing 
the prize on the attainment of which the whole of life 
was set, a psychical .state which would be as impossible 
to your mind now as would the early infantile freshness 
to your lined cheek, or the curling locks of boyhood to 
your grizzled pate. It is gone, clean gone. Perhaps it 
snapped off short with a wrench, leaving its victim with 
a gaping wound which the searing-iron of time has com- 



mi.ss r,i:x:iv:x ox matiumony. 129 

plotely cicatrised : perhaps it mellowed down into calm, 
peaceful, conjugal, and subsequently paternal affection. 
But tell me not, hard-hearted and worldly-minded 
bachelor, intent on the sublimation of self, and cyni- 
cally enough disposed to all that is innocent and tender, 
— tell me not, husband, however devoted to your wife, 
however proud of your offspring, — tell me not that a re- 
gret for that vanished time does not sometimes cross 
your mind, that the sense of having lost the power of 
enjoying such twopenny happiness, ay, and such petty 
misery, does not cost you an occasional pang. It still 
goes on, that tragi-comedy, the same as ever, though the 
actors be different, though our places are now in the 
cushioned gallery among the spectators instead of on the 
stage, and we witness the performance, not with envy, 
not with admiration, but with a strange feeling of be- 
wilderment that such things once were with us,— that 
the dalliance of the puppets, and the liquid jargon which 
they speak, once were our delight, and that we once had 
the pass-key to that blissful world whose pleasures and 
whose sorrows now alike fail to interest us. 

So in the thorough enjoyment of this new-found hap- 
piness, in all tranquillity and repose, as in a calm haven 
after tempest, three or four days passed over Barbara 
and Churchill. Their secret was their own, and was 
doubly dear for being known but to themselves. No one 
suspected it. Churchill joined the shooting-party on 
two occasions; but as he had previously been in the 
habit of detaching himself after luncheon, no one re- 
marked his doing so now, and no one knew that the re- 
mainder of the day until dinner-time was spent with 
Barbara alone. After dinner Barbara Avould sometimes 
sing, and then Churchill would hover round the piano, 
perhaps with more empressement than he had previously 
shown (because, though fond, as every man of any sensi- 
tiveness must be, of music, he was by no means an enthu- 
siast, and was racked wofully with smothered yawna 
during the performance of any elaborate piece), yet by 
no means noticeably. And during all the time each had 

K 



130 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the inward satisfaction of knowing that their words and 
actions were appreciated by the other, and that the "little 
look across the crowd," as Owen Meredith says, was full 
of meaning to and thoroughly understood by the person 
it was intended to reach. At length, about the fourth 
day after the proceedings at the stile, their conversation 
took a more practical turn. They had been wandering 
slowly along, and had at length stopped to rest on a 
grass-covered bank which was screened from the sight of 
the distant house by a thick belt of evergreens, while far 
away in front of them stretched a glorious prospect of 
field and woodland. As sometimes happens in October, 
the sun seemed to have recovered his old July force, and 
blazed so fiercely that they were glad to sit under the 
friendly shade. Barbara had removed the glove from 
her right hand, and sat looking down at her lover, who 
lay by her side, idly tracing the course of one of the violet 
veins in the little hand which rested in his own broad 
palm. Suddenly he looked up and said : 

" Darling, this lotus-eating is rapidly coming to an 
end. It would be sweet enough, thus ' propped on beds 
of amaranth and moly,' to remain and dream away the 
time together ; but there's the big world before us, and 
my holiday is nearly finished." 

" And you must go back to town ?" and the little 
fingers tightened round his, and the shapely head was 
bent towards his face. 

" Yes, pet ; must. But what of that ? When I go, 
it is but to prepare for thee, my heart's darling ; but to 
set things straight for your reception. You're determined, 
child, to share my lot at once ? You've reflected on what 
I said the other night, about waiting a year to see whe- 
ther—" 

" No, Frank, no ! those long engagements are utterly 
hateful. There will you be, I suppose" (and she glanced 
slyly at him), " moping by yourself, and there shall I be 
with another round of that horrible season before me, 
thinking of you, longing for you, and yet having to un- 
dergo all the detestable nonsense of balls and parties and 



MISS LEXDEN ON MATRIMONY. 131 

fries, which I so thoroughly despise — for what ? At the 
end to find ourselves a, year older, and you perhaps a few 
pounds richer. As though riches made happiness !" said 
poor Barbara, who, since she had come to what are called 
years of discretion, had never known what it was to have 
a whim unindulged. 

Churchill raised himself on his elbow, and smiled as 
he smoothed her glossy hair. 

"My child," said he, "have you never heard of the 
philosopher who, when told that poverty was no crime, 
rejoined, ' Xo ; no crime ; but it's deuced inconvenient'? 
Recollect, furnished lodgings in Mesopotamia, hack cabs 
to ride in, no Parker to dress your hair, no Rotten Row 
— by Jove, when I think of it, I feel almost inclined to 
rush off and never see you again, so horrible is the 
change to which holding to me must lead you!" and a 
dark shadow passed across his face. 

" Do you ?" asked Barbara, bending so closely over 
him that he felt her warm breath on his cheek ; "do 
you?" she repeated with such a dash of earnest in her 
jesting tone that Churchill thought it necessary to slip 
his arm round her, and press his lips to her forehead in 
reassurance. " Why, you silly boy, you forget that when 
I was a child at home with papa, I knew what poverty 
was ; such poverty as would make what you speak of 
wealth by comparison. Besides, shall we not be together 
to share it ? And you'll buy me a — what do they call it? 
— a cookery book, and I'll learn all kinds of housekeep- 
ing ways. I can do some things already ; Guerin, the 
Morrisons' cJtef — who was a little struck with me, I think, 
sir — showed Clara Morrison and me how to make an 
omelette ; and Maurice Gladstone — my cousin Maurice, 
you know ; when we were staying at Sandgate, he was 
quartered at Shorncliffe — taught me to do bashawed 
lobster, and he says my bashawed lobster is as good as 
Sergeant Pheeny's. And you know all the Guards are 
mad to get asked to sup with Sergeant Pheeny, who's a 
lawyer, you know, and not a soldier-sergeant." 

And she stopped quite out of breath. 



132 BI10KEX TO HAEXES3. 

" ' You know' and ' you know,' " said Churchill, mock- 
ing her ; " I do know Sergeant Pheeny, as it happens, 
and his bashawed lobster, and that dish and omelettes will 
doubtless be . x ur staple food ; and yox; shall cook it, and 
clean the saucepans afterwards, you little goose. How- 
ever, I tell you candidly, darling, though it sounds self- 
ish, I dare not run the risk of losing you, even with all 
these difficulties before us. As you say, we shall share 
them together, and — " 

" Now, not another word !" said Barbara, placing her 
hand upon his lips ; " there are to be no difficulties, and 
all is to be arranged at once. And I think the first thing 
to be done is for me to speak to my aunt." 

" Ay," said Churchill, with rather a dolorous expres- 
sion of face ; "lam afraid that will be what your friend 
Captain Lystcr would call a ' teaser.' Talking about no 
difficulties — we shall find one there !" 

" I do not think so. I am sure, Frank, my aunt has 
shown special politeness to you.'" 

" Yes, darling, politeness of a certain kind to people 
in my position. Don't frown ; I have long since dropped 
that distinction as between ourselves. But I mean so 
far as the outer world is concerned, to people in my posi- 
tion — authors, artists, and 'professional people' of all 
kinds — mixing in society, there are always two distinct 
varieties of politeness. One, which seems to say, ' You 
are not belonging to novs mitres ; you are not a man of 
family and position ; but you bring something which is 
a distinction in its way, and which, so far as this kind of 
acquaintance goes, entitles you to a proper reception at 
our hands.' The other, which says as plainly, 'You 
don't eat peas with your knife, or wipe your lips with the 
back of your hand ; you're decently dressed, and will pass 
muster ; while at the same time you're odd, quaint, amus- 
ing, out of the common run, and you present at my house 
a sort of appanage to my position.' I think Miss Lexden 
belongs to the latter class, Barbara." 

" I am afraid that old feeling of class-prejudice is a 
monomania with yon," said Barbara, a little coldly : 



MISS LKXDKN ON ."UATKIMOXY l.'">3 

"however, I will sec my aunt", and bring- matters to an 
issue there at once." 

"All luck go with you, child ! There is one chance 
for us. The old proverb says, ' Femme savaiile est toujours 
gala ate: Miss Lcxden is a clever woman ; perhaps has 
had her own love-affairs, and will feel pity for ours. But, 
Barbara, in case she should be antagonistic — violently, I 
mean — you will not — " 

" Jlo/iviein;" said Barbara, Avith a little inflated move s 
" la garde meurt, ma is ne se read pas, as Cambronne did 
not say. Xo, no ; trust in me. And now give me your 
arm, and let us go home." 

It was a point of honour with old Miss Lexden to 
have the best room in every house where she visited ; 
and so good was her system of tactics, that she gene- 
rally succeeded. Far away in northern castles, where 
accommodation was by no means on a par with the rank 
of their owners, duchesses had been worse lodged and 
infinitely worse attended to than this old commoner, 
whose bitter tongue and incapacity for reticence did her 
3 r eoman's service on all possible occasions ; not that she 
was ever rude, or even impolite, or said any thing ap- 
proaching to actual savagery ; but she had a knack of 
dropping hints, of firing from behind a masked battery 
of complacency, and of roughly rubbing " raws," which 
was more effective than the most studied attacks. As 
spent balls, when rolling calmly along, as innocuous, ap- 
parently, as those " twisters" of Hilly er's, which evade 
the dexterous " dip" of the longstop on the smooth short 
sward of the Oval, have been known, when attempted to 
be stopped, to take off a foot, so did old Miss Lexden's 
apparently casual remarks, after to all appearance missing 
their aim, tear and wound and send limping to the rear 
an}' one who rashly chanced to answer or gainsay her. 
"Women, with that strange blundering upon the right so 
often seen among them, seemed to guess the diabolical 
power of the old lady's missiles, and avoided them with 
graceful ease, making gentle deluars, which led them out 
of harms way, or cowering for shelter in elegant atti- 



134 BEOKEX TO HARNESS. 

tudes under projecting platitudes ; but men, in their 
conscious self-strength, would often stand up to bear the 
brunt of an argument, and always came away worsted 
from the fight. So that old Miss Lexden generally had 
her own way amongst her acquaintance, and one impor- 
tant part of her own way was the acquisition of the 
greatest comfort wherever she stayed. 

Of course, in an easy, regulated household like that 
of Sir Marmaduke Wentworth, there was no need of 
special strategy. Tears ago, on her first visit, she had 
selected her apartments, and had had them reserved for 
her ever since. Pleasant apartments they were, large, 
airy, and with a glorious look-out across the garden over 
the surrounding downs. When the windows were open, 
as they always were when practicable during Miss Lex- 
den's tenancy, — for the old lady was a great lover of 
fresh air,- — the rooms were filled with the perfume of the 
flowers, occasionally mixed with fresh, health}' sea-smell. 
These had been the state-rooms in the Grange, in bygone 
times ; and when Miss Lexden first came there, there 
was a huge bed, with nodding plumes at the foot, and a 
great canopy, and high-backed solemn chairs, and a big 
wardrobe like a family mausoleum ; but the old lady had 
all these cleared away, and persuaded Sir Marmaduke to 
refurnish the rooms with a suite of light maple and moss- 
rosebud chintz, with looking-glass let into the panels of 
the wardrobe, and snug little low chairs scattered about ; 
and then with a chintz paper, and water-colour drawings 
in light frames, the place was so changed that the old 
housekeeper, who had been in the family for years, 
scarcely knew it again, and was loud in her lamentations 
over the desecration. 

Miss Lexden was a lazy old lady, who always break- 
fasted in bed, and when staying on a visit at a country- 
house generally remained the greater portion of the chu- 
rn her room. She was accustomed to say with great 
freedom that she did not amuse the young people, and 
they certainly did not amuse her, and that she hated all 
old people except herself. She was a great correspondent 



MISS LEXDEN ON MATRIMONY. 135 

of all kinds of people, wrote lengthy epistles in very ex- 
cellent French to all kinds of refugees, Avho were per- 
petually turning up in different parts of Europe, and 
working the oracle for their own purposes; wrote lengthy 
epistles to American statesmen on the slavery question, 
to English lecturers on subjects of political economy, 
and to her special friends on all points of domestic scan- 
dal. I fear that, with the exception of the last, her cor- 
respondence was not much regarded, as she never sent to 
refugees any thing but her blessing and her prayers ; and 
these, even though coming from an English miladi, were 
not discountable at any Geld-wechsel Compioir on the 
Continent. But her Ohronique Scandaleuse was delicious; 
it was bold in invention, full in detail, and always writ- 
ten in the most pointed *and epigrammatic style. There 
were people who obtained autumn invitations on the 
sheer strength of their being recipients of Miss Lex- 
den's correspondence. Extracts from her letters were 
read publicly at the breakfast-table, and created the 
greatest delight. " Good as a book, by Jove !" was a, 
frequent comment on them ; " full of humour, and that 
kind of thing ; sort of thing that fellow writes and 
people pay money for, by Jove ! ought to send it to 
Punch, that she ought." (For it is a thing to be noted, 
that if the aristocracy of this great country ever permit 
themselves to be amused, they invariably think that the 
thing which amused them, no matter of what kind it be, 
ought to be sent to Punch.) Miss Lexden also was a 
great reader of French novels ; she subscribed regularly 
to Rolandi's, and devoured all that sound sense, morality, 
philosophy, and extensive knowledge of the world, which 
yearly issued from the Parisian publishers. In bygone 
times she had laughed heartily over the farcical humoui 
of M. Paul de Kock ; now that her palate had somewhat 
dulled, Fortune had sent her the titillating works of M. 
Gustave Flaubert, M. Xavier de Montepin, M. Ernest'- 
Feydeau, and others of that modern school which de- 
lights in calling a spade a spade, with the broad theories 
of M. Proudhon to be her political guide, and the casu- 



136 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

istries of M. Renan for her Sunday reading. She read 
all, but liked the novels best ; and had been seen to weep 
over a yellow-covered volume in which an elegant mar- 
quis, all soul and black eyes, a menibre da Jockei-Club, 
and altogether an adorable person, had to give satisfac- 
tion to a brute of a husband who objected to being dis- 
honoured. 

With one of these yellow-covered volumes on her lap, 
Miss Lexden was sitting placidly in the easiest of chairs 
at the open window on the afternoon when Barbara and 
Churchill held the conversation just narrated. She was 
a pleasant-looking old lady, with a fat, wrinkleless, full 
face, like an old child, with a shiny pink-and-white com- 
plexion, and with hair which defied you to tell whether 
it had been wonderfully well preserved, or admirably 
dyed, arranged under a becoming cap. She was dressed 
in a rich brown moire-antique silk, and with a black-lace 
shawl thrown over her ample shoulders ; her fat, pudgy 
little hands, covered with valuable rings, were crossed 
over the book on her lap ; and she was just on the point 
of dropping off into a placid slumber, when there came a 
knock at the door, immediately upon which Barbara 
entered the room. 

" Well, Barbara," said the old lady, stifling a yawn ; 
"is it time to dress? I've done nothing since luncheon 
but read this ridiculous book, and I was very nearly 
dropping asleep, and I've no notion of the time ; and 
Withers is always gadding about in this house with that 
steward, and never comes near me till the last moment." 

" It is quite early, aunt ; scarcely six o'clock yet ; 
and I came up to you on purpose to have a quiet cause 
with you before you dressed. I think I have news which 
will keep you awake. You've not asked me of my flir- 
tations lately." 

" My dear child, why should I ask ? I interested 
myself about Lord Hinchenbrook because he was the 
parti of the season, and because to have carried him off 
from that odious doll, that Miss Musters, as you could 
easily, would have been a triumph to us both ; but you 



MISS LEXDES OX MATIU.UOX Y. 137 

refused. I interested myself about young Chaldecott 
because our families bad long- been intimate, and the 
largest property in Yorkshire is worth interesting one- 
self about ; but you refused. You know your own mind 
best, Barbara, and I know that you have too much good 
sense and real notion of what is right to do a foolish 
thing ; so I leave you to yourself, and don't worry you 
with any questions." 

•• Thanks, aunt, for your good opin^n," said Barbara, 
playing with a sprig of scarlet geranium which she had 
taken from a vase on the table ; " but I shall give you 
no further trouble. I am going to be married." 

•' Sir Charles Chaldecott has written?" said the old 
lady, putting aside the book, and sitting upright in her 
chair; "has written; and you — ■?" and in her anxiety 
Miss Lexden smiled so unguardedly that, for the first 
time in her life, the gold-settings of her false teeth were 
seen by a looker-on. 

"I — we shall not hear any more of Sir Charles Chal- 
decott, aunt," said Barbara hesitatingly ; "no; I am 
going to be married to a gentleman now staying in this 
house." 

Miss Lexden's face fell; the gold teeth-settings dis- 
appeared from view entirely; and she shrugged her 
shoulders as she said, " Very well, my dear ; I feared 
something of the sort. If you like to settle on three 
thousand a year, and to take a man whose constitution 
is ruined by the Indian climate, I can only say — it is 
your affair." 

Barbara bit her lips to avoid betraying a smile as she 
replied, " You are wrong again, aunt. Captain Lyster 
has never done me the honour of an offer." Then 
seriously, " I am going to be married to Mr. Churchill." 

•' What?' shrieked the old lady, surprised out of all 
decorum; "what?" Then, after an instant's pause, "I 
beg your pardon, Barbara; did I not understand you to 
say that you were going to be married to Mr. Churchill, 
the — the gentleman now staying in this house?" 

•* You did so understand me, aunt, and it is the fact." 



138 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" Then," said Miss Lexden, in rather a low, flat key, 
" I'll trouble you to ring the bell for Withers. It must 
be time for me to dress for dinner." 

Barbara looked astonished, and would have spoken; 
but her aunt had risen from her chair and turned her 
back on her, moving towards the dressing-table. So she 
mechanically rang the bell, and left the room. 

"With the result of this conversation Churchill was 
made acquainted as he and Barbara bent together over a 
large stereoscope in the drawing-room before dinner. In 
a few hurried words, interspersed with ejaculations of 
admiration at the views, uttered in a much louder tone, 
Barbara conveyed to her lover that their project would 
meet with no assistance from her aunt, even if that old 
lady did not actively and violently oppose it. Churchill 
shrugged his shoulders on hearing this, and looked some- 
what serious and annoyed; but as she rose to go in to 
dinner, Barbara pressed his hand, and looking into her 
face, he saw her eyes brighten and her lip curl with an 
expression of triumph, and he recognised in an instant 
that her energy had risen at the prospect of opposition, 
and that her determination to have her own way had 
strengthened rather than lessened from her#aunt's treat- 
ment. 

There was an accession to the dinner-table that clay 
in the person of Mr. Schroder, a German long resident 
in England, and partner in the great house of Schroder, 
Stutterheim, Hinterhaus, and Company, bankers and 
brokers, which had branches and ramifications in all the 
principal cities of the world. ISTo one would have judged 
Custav Schroder to have been a keen financier and a con- 
summate master of his business from his personal appear- 
ance. He was between fifty-five and sixty years old, 
heavy and dull-looking, with short, stubbly, iron-gray 
hair, dull boiled eyes, and thin dry lips, which he was 
constantly sucking. He was clumsy in his movements, 
and very taciturn; but though he spoke little, even to 
Miss Townshend, by whom he was seated, he seemed to 
derive intense satisfaction in gazing at her with a pro- 



MISS LEXDEN ON MATRIMONY. 1G9 

prietorial kind of air, which nearly goaded Lystcr, sitting 
directly opposite to them, to desperation. Upon his evi- 
dently uncomfortable state Captain Lyster was rallied 
with great humour by old Miss Lexden, who, however 
much she may have been inwardly annoyed, showed no 
signs of trouble. She opined that Captain Lyster must 
be in love; that some shepherdess on the neighbouring- 
downs, some Brighton paissarde, must have captivated 
him, and she was delighted at it, and it would do him 
good; and in spite of Lyster's protestations — which, 
however, he soon gave up when he found he had the 
trouble of repeating them — the old lady launched out 
into a very unusual tirade on her part in favour of early 
marriages, of love-matches made for love's sake alone, 
which frequently turned out the happiest, " didn't they, 
Mr. Churchill?" At which question, Churchill, who was 
dreamily looking across the table, and thinking how 
artistically Barbara's head was posed on her neck, and 
what a lovely ear she had, stammered an inarticulate and 
inappropriate reply. 

But when dinner was over, and the post-prandial 
drink finished, and the coffee consumed in the drawing- 
room, and the " little music " played, and the ladies had 
retired to rest (Barbara, in her good night to Churchill, 
giving one reassuring hand-pressure, and looking as 
saucily triumphant as before), and the men had ex- 
changed their dress-coats for comfortable velvet loung- 
ing-] ackets, and had, in most cases, dispensed with their 
white cravats; when Sir Marmaduke had nodded his 
farewell for the night, Churchill, instead of joining the 
party in the smoke-room, made his way to the old gentle- 
man's quarters, and knocked at the dressing-room door. 
Bidden to come in, he found Sir Marmaduke in his 
dressing-gown and slippers, seated before a fire (for the 
evenings were beginning to be chilly), with a glass of 
cold brandy-and-water on a little table at his right hand, 
and the evening paper on his knee. 

"Holloa!" was the old gentleman's salutation; 
"what's in the wind now? There must be something 



140 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the matter when a young fellow like you, instead of 
joining in the nonsense down-stairs, comes to hunt out 
an old fogey like me. What is it?" 

"Business, Sir Marruaduke," commenced Churchill; 
" I want five minutes' business talk with you." 

" God bless my soul !" growled Sir Marmaduke ; 
"business at this time of night, and with me! You 
can't talk without something to drink, you know. 
Here, Grumble; another tumbler and the brandy for 
Mr. Churchill. Why don't you talk to Stone, my dear 
fellow? he manages all my business, you know " 

"Yes, yes, Sir Marmaduke; but this is for you, and 
you alone. I came to tell you that I am going to be 
married." 

"Ay, ay! no news to me, though you think it is. 
What's his name, Beresford, told us all about it. Well, 
well, deuced risky business; wish you well through it, 
and all that kind of thing. Don't congratulate you, 
because that's all humbug. But why specially announcO 
it to me?" 

" Simply because it is your due. I met the lady in 
this house, and the first introduction was through you. 
I don't know what nonsense Mr. Beresford may have 
been spreading, but the real fact is that I am going 
to be married to Barbara Lexden. Now you see my 
motive." 

" I'm obliged to you, sir," said the old man, rising 
from his chair, and extending his hand; "you've acted 
like a gentleman, by Jove! like a gentleman and a man 
of honour. Cod bless my soul! how I recollect your 
father, Frank, and how like you are to him ! And so 
you're going to marry little Barbara ! not little Barbara 
now, though. How time flies! A good girl, sir; and a 
deuced fine girl, too, for the matter of that. What does 
her aunt say to that? She meant her for much higher 
game than you, young fellow. What does her aunt say? 
Does she know of it ? — Does Miss Lexden know of it ? 
I'll wager there'll be ' wigs upon the green,' as poor Dick 
Burke used to say, when she hears of it." 



MISS LEXDEN ON MATMMONV. 141 

" i\Fiss Lcxdcn has heard of it, sir," said Churchill, 
smiling; "and I'm afraid she did not receive the news 
very auspiciously ; but we shall endeavour to gain her 
consent, and if we fail — well, we must do without it. 
And now I won't keep you from your paper any longer. 
I thought it my duty to tell you, and having done so, I'll 
sav u'ood night." 

" One minute, Frank Churchill ; wait one minute. 
I'm a queer, useless old fellow — an old brute, I often 
think, for I'm not unconscious of the strange life I lead, 
and the odd — but, however, that's neither here nor there. 
Your father and I were boon companions — a wild, harum- 
scarum chap he was — and such company — and I've a 
regard for you, which is strengthened by your conduct 
to-night. My old cousin, Miss Lexden — well, she's an 
old lady, you know, and she meant Barbara for a marquis, 
at least; and then old women hate to be disappointed, 
you know, and she'll be savage, I've no doubt. But 
when you're once married, she won't be difficult to deal 
with, and so far as I can help you, I will. And now, 
God bless you, and good night; and — give Barbara a 
kiss for me in the morning." 

About the same time, another conversation on the 
same great topic was going on under the same roof. 
Barbara had scarcely been five minutes in her room, 
and had been leaning thoughtfully, with her arms upon 
the window-sill, gazing out into the moonlit park, and 
utterly oblivious of Parker, who was preparing the in- 
strument of torture for her mistress's hair, when Withers 
arrived with a message that Miss Lexden wished to speak 
to her niece. Obedient to the summons, Barbara crossed 
the landing, and found the old lady, resplendent in a 
dark-blue cashmere dressing-gown, seated before her fire. 
Withers dismissed pro km., Miss Lexden said : 

" I'll not detain you long, Barbara. I merely wished 
to know whether what you said this evening about your 
intended marriage with Mr. Churchill was jest or earnest." 



142 BROKEN" TO HARNESS. 

'•' Thorough earnest," replied Barbara, regarding her 
stedfastly. 

" As to marriage, I mean?" asked the old lady; "not 
as to a temporary flirtation, which, faute de mievx, with a 
pleasant man in a dull country house, is well enough, 
and not likely to tell against one's interests. But as to 
marriage?" 

'•What I said before, aunt," said Barbara slowly, 
never dropping her eyes, " I repeat. Mr. Churchill has 
done me the honour to ask me to become his wife. I 
have consented, and I mean to keep my word." 

"Ye-ry well," said Miss Lexden, drawing a long 
breath ; " I only wished to know. You are your own 
mistress, and control your own actions, of course. You 
have made your choice, and will abide by it. I don't 
seek to influence you one jot. But, recollect one thing: 
if I were to see you with broken health, with broken 
spirits, ill-used, deserted, starving — as is likely enough, 
for I know these people — I would not lift one finger to 
help you, after your degradation of me. I have said it, 
and you know I keep my word. That is all ; we will 
have no quarrel, and give no occasion for shoulder-shrugs 
and scandal. The sooner your arrangements permit of 
your quitting my house, the better pleased I shall be. 
Now, good night. Withers, I am ready now. See Miss 
Lexden to her room. Good night, dear." 

The old lady proffered her enamelled cheek, against 
which Barbara laid the tip of her nose. And so the aunt 
and niece separated for the night. 



CHAPTER XT. 

MOTHER AND SON. 

At the drawing-room window of a house in Great Adullam 
Street, Macpelah Square, in that district of London whilom 
known as " Mesopotamia," a lady had been sitting from 
an early hour in the afternoon until now, when twilight 
falls upon the neighbourhood. This, I am aware, does 
not particularly fix the hour, because twilight falls upon 
the Mesopotamia^ neighbourhood earlier than on any 
other with which I am acquainted. You leave Oxford 
Street in a blaze of sunlight, which bit by bit decreases 
as you progress through the dingy streets and the dull, 
vast, second-rate squares, until when you enter upon the 
confines of Great Adullam Street you find the glory of 
the day departed, a yellow fog settling gloomily down, 
and the general aspect suicidal. At the time of which I 
am speaking, the twilight had been a settled thing for 
at least an hour, — it was approaching six o'clock. The 
lamps were lighted, and the inhabitants of the neighbour- 
ing houses had pulled their blinds down and settled in 
for the night ; but still at No. 57 the lady sat in the 
drawing-room window, staring out into the yellow fog. 
The street lamp flickering on her showed her to be a 
woman of about sixty years old, with clean-cut regular 
features, intelligent but sweet expression, and with gray 
hah — almost white — arranged in broad bands on either 
side her face. Her dress was black silk, with a soft 
white-muslin cape pinned across her breast, and on her 
head she wore a plain white-muslin cap with a little 
crimped border. On her hands she had black-lace mit- 
tens, and she wore a few old-fashioned but valuable rings. 



144 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

A glance at her -would have proclaimed her a lady to the 
most casual observer, a woman of taste and refinement 
and sensibility to the physiognomist; and a further study 
would have shown the latter deeply-indented traces of 
mental anxiety and suffering. 

Indeed, Eleanor Churchill's life had not been a par- 
ticularly happy one. Daughter of a country clergyman 
near Bath, she lost both her parents before she was 
eighteen, and remained in the school where she was 
being "finished" after their death, giving her services 
as teacher for her board and lodging. Here she was 
seen and admired by Yance Churchill, who attended the 
school as drawing-master ; a wild young fellow, full of 
talent, who worked (at intervals) like a horse, and whose 
splendid method of touching-up the pupils' drawings, so 
as to make them look all their own, redeemed many of 
his shortcomings, and caused him to be continued in fa- 
vour at Minerva House. But when he fell in love with 
the pretty teacher, and muttered love to her as he was 
sharpening pencil-points, and was seen by the writing- 
master — an old person of seventy, who was jealous of 
his young cmifrrre — to hand her a note in a copy of the 
Lairs of Pirv/Hilifr, and on being taxed with his crime 
acknowledged it and gloried in it, it became impossible 
for the Miss Indcrwicks, as the girls called them, or the 
Misses Inderwick, as they called themselves, to stand it 
any longer. So both the delinquents were discharged; 
and having nothing to live upon, they at once got mar- 
ried, and came up to London. Once there, Yance Chur- 
chill set to work with a will: he drew on wood, he litho- 
graphed, he drew languishing heads for the music-shops, 
and caricatures political and social; he finished several 
elaborate sketches in water-colour and in oil; but he sold 
scarcely any thing. There was not that demand for art 
in those davs there is now, and consequently not that 
chance of livelihood for its possessors; and Yance Chur- 
chill and his young wife were very near to starvation 
indeed, and had buried one little girl-baby, who, had 
luxuries been provided for her, might have' lived, when 



M0T1IE11 AND SON. 145 

a small picture of Lady Macbeth, which had found a 
place in the Somerset-House Exhibition, was seen and 
purchased by Sir Jasper Wentworth, our old friend Sir 
Marmaduke's uncle and his predecessor in the baronetcy. 
From that time Vance Churchill's fortune was looked 
upon as made ; for Sir Jasper, who had a nice eye for 
art, took him up, introduced him right and left, and got 
him commissions without end. Young Marmadukc, a 
free-spoken, jolly young man, coeval with the artist, 
took an immense fancy to him, and was never happy 
save in his society; money was, if not plentiful, always 
to be had, — and Eleanor Churchill was more wretched 
than she had ever been in the days of her direst poverty. 
For though Yance Churchill could struggle against 
poverty, neglect, and hardship, he could not withstand 
ease, comparative wealth, and the attractions of society. 
He was eminently a " social" man; a big, jolly jovial fel- 
low, with bright blue eyes, large brown whiskers, and a 
splendid set of teeth. He had capital lungs, and sang a 
capital song in a deep baritone voice, and he had nice 
feeling in his singing, which so seldom accompanies cor- 
rect musical execution ; but when Yance Churchill sang 
" Farewell, my trim-built Wherry," or " Tom Bowling," 
all the female portion of his audience was in tears, while 
the men felt husky and uncomfortable. He became the 
rage in a certain set of fast young men about town, and 
in that pleasant Upper Bohemia wherein so many literary 
men, artists, and actors of that day used to spend their 
time; not a Bohemia of taprooms and sanded floors, of 
long clay-pipes and spittoons and twopennyworths of gin, 
nor of Haymarket night-houses and drunken trulls, nor 
of blind-hooky and vivtjt-et-un parties in dingy chambers; 
but a. Bohemia of green-rooms and coulisses, of sparkling 
little suppers afterwards at Yauxhall, where wit would 
flow as fast as the champagne, where jokes would be 
more telling than the hot punch, and 'whence the mad 
party would not unfrequently dash away in their car- 
riages to breakfast at the Star and (barter at Richmond, 
or to drink fresh milk and eat fresh butter in a Hamp 

h 



146 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

stead farmhouse. A Bohemia, the denizens of which al- 
ways would have good clothes and fine linen on their 
backs, gold watches in their pockets, and guineas in their 
purses, let who would pay for it; and who roared with 
laughter at the astonishment of the world at their va- 
garies, increasing their eccentricities, and saying of the 
world as Balzac's actress said, " Qu'importe? donne leur 
des grimaces pour leur argent, et vivons Tieureux!" 

Petted and feted by the style of society in which he 
revelled, Vance Churchill had yet the grace not to at- 
tempt to force his wife to join it; indeed he had good 
reason for keeping her away. For the ladies liked Vance 
Churchill vastly, and Vance returned the compliment, 
and behaved just as though there were no moral and 
legal ties binding him to any one in particular. He loved 
his wife sincerely all the time, and in his quiet moments 
would tear his hair, and stamp upon the ground, and 
curse his own weakness and folly, and his treatment of 
that angel who sat patiently at home attending to and 
teaching their little boy, and who never reproached him 
save by her pale face and broken spirit; and then, as 
evening came round, Marmaduke "Wentworth would call 
for him, or the servant would bring him a dainty little 
note, written in a very scrawly hand, which she would 
hold in the corner of her dingy apron, and which Vance 
would seize from her, and after reading it he would sally 
out, and commence his vagaries da capo. 

Preaching before Mary Queen of Scots and her maids 
of honour, old John Knox is reported to have said: "Oh, 
how beautiful, how charming, how pleasurable would be 
this life, if it would only last!" These were Mr. Vance 
Churchill's sentiments, but he soon found that it would 
not last. What the writers of those ghastly impositions, 
bacchanalian ditties, call " wine and women," or " beauty 
and the bowl," don't agree with hard work; and if you 
go to bed at five a.m. after orgies, you will not be able to 
paint your pictures next day, or to write your book, or 
mould your clay, or study your part. It is astonishing 
how slow people are to believe this, and how, year after 



MOTHER AXD SOB. 147 

year, we see friends and acquaintances still determined, 
not merely upon burning the candle at both ends, but 
lighting any bit of wick that may protrude in the middle, 
and quite astonished when they see the flame flicker and 
feel the whole affair about to collapse. Vance Churchill 
had plenty of commissions for pictures from first-rate 
people, — noblemen, connoisseurs, and patrons of art, — 
but he did not giye himself the chances of painting them: 
his brain was never clear enough for conception, his hand 
never steady enough for execution; and the result was, 
that his financial affairs became desperate. His noble 
patrons never dreamed of parting with their money until 
the work was done — and in truth not often then; and 
there were in those days no middle-men, no bland pic- 
ture-dealers, to advance large sums on untouched can- 
vases; and even if there had been, they would have been 
far too wise to let Vance Churchill have any money on 
the strength of " working it out." So the money dwin- 
dled and dwindled, and then Vance began borrowing of 
his friends until he found averted faces and buttoned, 
pockets, and then he faded straight away out of his grand 
society, and took lodgings at Chelsea, and tried once 
again to work for his livelihood. He painted one pic- 
ture, which showed but few traces of his old force and 
promise. It was plain that the mischief was done; and 
then Vance Churchill, after steadily drinking for four 
days, was found one morning with an empty laudanum- 
phial in his clenched fingers, and a heart-breaking letter 
to his wife by his side. 

Then Eleanor Churchill — who, while perfectly con- 
scious of her husband's frailties and imperfections, had 
never ceased worshipping him — fairly broke down; and 
had she not been attended by a skilful physician, and 
perseveringly nursed night and day by the girl wh© had 
been " scrub" at Miss Inderwick's school, and had lefc 
when Eleanor left to follow her fortunes, little Frank 
would have been motherless as well as fatherless. As it 
was, she recovered, and went away, as soon as she was 
able to move, to a little fishing-village in Devon, of which 



1 48 BROKEN TO HABXESS. 

an old friend of her father's was vicar. Her income was 
a mere pittance; contributions from old friends of her 
husband's family and her own grudgingly yielded; but 
her expenses were trifling, and the old parson took the 
boy's education under his own charge, and gave him an 
excellent classical groundwork. The vicar died when 
Frank was about fifteen, and left the whole of his little 
Bavings — some seven hundred pounds — to Eleanor 
Churchill, "for the furtherance of her son's education;" 
and then the widow carried out her long-cherished plan 
of sending her son to some foreign university, where, in 
addition to his Classics, he could perfect himself in some 
of the modern languages. Frank was absent at Leipzig 
nearly four years, during which period he paid two flying 
visits to England, at the second of which he was intro- 
duced to his godfather, Sir Marmaduke "Wentworth, who 
had succeeded to the family title on his uncle's death. 
Frank little thought that one of Sir Marniaduke's first 
acts on coining into his property had been to settle two 
hundred a year on Mrs. Churchill for her life; he would 
hear of no refusal. " It is merely an act of reparation," 
said he; " and but a scanty one. It was my folly, my bad 
example, that led poor Vance astray; and I should never 
rest if I thought that those he left behind him were in 
want, while I had means." But one condition was at- 
tached to this gift, and that was that Frank should never 
know of it. " I recollect Vance's spirit in his best days," 
Marmaduke said; " and if the boy is like him, he'd fling 
my money at my head." 

After taking his degree, Frank was fortunate enough 
to render himself so agreeable to young Fortinbrass, the 
son of the great Indian pale-ale brewer, that that young 
plutocrat insisted on taking him with him as half-secre- 
tary, half-bear-leader, in his tour through Europe and the 
East; and as they stopped at every place where there was 
any thing to be done, and a good many at which there was 
nothing to be done, and as they had the usual share of 
quarantine, and as Fortinbrass took ill at Smyrna and 
had to lay up for four months, it was full three years 



IIOTITKR AND SON. 149 

before Frank returned to England. Then he determined 
to settle down and get to work in earnest ; and after 
a few rebuffs and discouragements, philosophically en- 
countered, he made his mark in the press world, and 
obtained constant and fairly remunerative employment. 
Then the house in Great Adullam Street was taken, as 
handy to the Statesman office, Frank's head-quarters, and 
furnished partly with the best of the Devonshire furni- 
ture, and partly with odds and ends bought cheap at 
sales, for the joint income was but small, and Eleanor 
had a wholesome horror of debt. And then the full tide 
of Eleanor Churchill's happiness flowed in: she had loved 
her husband; she had worshipped his memory in her 
holy of holies; she had preserved his image, and had 
bowed clown before it; with his death vanished all his 
shortcomings, but his better qualities — the early affec- 
tion, kindness, and chivalry — were remembered. But 
now that her son was with her, the old image faded 
and rapidly paled. Here was one uniting the excel- 
lences of his father with virtues which his father never 
possessed, tempering high spirits and ardent affection 
with earnestness, industry, and honour; no mawkish 
sentimentalist, no prudish Pharisee ; a man of passions 
and impulse, yet a Christian and a gentleman, and above 
all — her own boy. That was the touchstone; that was 
the grand secret. He had his flirtations, of course ; his 
intrigues, perhaps; but he was her son, her companion, 
and she was his honoured mother, but she was also his 
trusted friend. All his hopes and fears, all the fun and 
gossip of the day, were brought by him to her; he talked 
to her on books and art and social questions; he read to 
her and with her; he advised her on her own reading, 
and he brought home with him men of European fame 
and name, and introduced her to them, and made much 
of her before them. If it would only last! Beware of 
that, Eleanor Churchill ! Some one must reign after you, 
and with her uprising must be your downsetting. It was 
ever so. Ask not why tarry the wheels of hi* chariot, for 



150 BROKEX TO HAKXESS. 

the news that he brings with him will wring and torture 
your fond, trusting heart. 

The old lady's face, which had grown somewhat worn 
and rigid in watching, brightened as she heard the sound 
of wheels in the distance, and as she saw a hansom cab 
come plunging and rattling over the uneven stones, to be 
finally pulled up with a jerk before the door. 

As Frank Churchill sprang out, he looked up to the 
window and waved his hand. In a minute he had run 
up-stairs and was in his mother's arms. 

" Why, my boy, how late you are!" said Mrs. Churchill, 
as she relaxed her embrace. " You must be famished for 
your dinner, my poor fellow!" 

" Excursion-trains, mother, your favourite doctrine of 
health and change for your old protege the working-man, 
you know, have contributed to your anxiety and my de- 
lay. We were stopped at Forest Hill for a train full of 
people, with drooping hats and feathers and banners and 
bands and general tomfoolery, who had been having a 
day at the Crystal Palace." 

" Well, so long as you're here, and all safe, that's all 
the old mother cares about, Frank. Dinner, Lucy, now, 
at once; Mr. Frank's half-starved. Let me look at you, 
my boy, and see whether the trip's done you any good. 
Eh, you're certainly tanned, and a little stouter, Frank, I 
think." 

" Perhaps so, mother, though I've been taking more 
exercise than usual too. Any news? I saw a pile of let- 
ters on the study-table as I rushed past, but I didn't stop 
to look at them. Any body been?" 

" Mr. Harding was here yesterday, to see if you had 
returned from among the ' swells,' as he called them. I 
think he's a little envious of your going into such society; 
eh, Frank?" 

"Not a bit of it, mother; nothing would take old 
George Harding beyond his own set. But he's afraid of 
my getting my head turned." 

" No fear of that in my boy," said Mrs. Churchill 
somewhat gravely; "there is the difference between you 



MOTHER AND SOX. 151 

and your poor father, Frank. And now, how is Sir Mar- 
maduke? and what sort of people were staying there? 
and was he kind and friendly to you? and how did you 
enjoy yourself?" 

As Mrs. Churchill finished speaking, Lucy the old 
servant entered the room and announced dinner. She 
was a tall gaunt woman, with a hard unpleasant face, 
which did not soften much when Churchill, looking up, 
said, '' Well, Lucy, back at home, once again, you see." 

" Yes, I see, Master Frank," the woman replied coldly. 
" "We've been waiting dinner until we must be faint, I 
should think." 

" But it wasn't Mr. Frank's fault, Lucy," said Mrs. 
Churchill; "the train was late. Now, my boy, come; 
you must be starved in earnest;" and they went down- 
stairs. 

" We've not got such a dinner for you as you've been 
having lately, maybe," said Lucy, as she uncovered the 
dishes. "But you can't be always among lords and 
ladies, Master Frank." 

" Lucy, you silly thing!" said Mrs. Churchill, half- 
laughing, but looking half-ashamed. 

" I've not been among them at all, Lucy, for the mat- 
ter of that," said Churchill good-humouredly, though his 
brow began to cloud. 

" Well," said the woman, leisurely handing the dishes, 
" it's not for the want of wishing. Here we are, left at 
home, in the hot autumn weather; while you — " 

"Lucy!" exclaimed Mrs. Churchill. 

" Be good enough to leave the room," said Churchill; 
"this minute!" he said, bringing his hand heavily down 
on the table, as the woman lingered, looking towards her 
mistress. " Why, mother darling, what is this?" he asked, 
when they were alone; " that woman's tongue was always 
free, and her manner always familiar; but this is quite a 
new experience." 

" It is, my child," said poor Mrs. Churchill; " I don't 
know how to excuse her, except that it is all done out 
of excess of affection for me, and — " 



152 BROKEX TO HAJRXESS. 

" That's quite enough excuse for me, mother," said 
Churchill, rising, and kissing her. "There, now we'll 
change the conversation;" and they talked merrily enough 
on indifferent topics throughout dinner. 

When the cloth was removed, and after Frank had 
produced his old meerschaum, and had drawn up his 
chair to the newly-lighted bit of fire, he said to his 
mother, " I've some news to tell you, mum." 

" Tell it, my boy!" said the old lady, settling her 
gold-rimmed glasses on her nose, and beginning to make 
play with a portentous piece of knitting; "what is it, 
Frank?" 

"Well, it's news that concerns both of us," said 
Churchill, slowly puffing at his pipe, "but me more es- 
pecially. The fact is, mum — I'm going to be married." 

It had come at last ! that news which she had dreaded 
so many years past, that news which spoke to her of 
separation from all she loved, which heralded to her the 
commencement of a new existence — had come at last! 
Her heart seemed to give one great bound within her 
breast as the words fell upon her ears, and her eyes were 
for an instant dimmed ; then recovering herself, she smiled 
and said, " To be married? that is news indeed, my boy!" 

"Ay, mother', my turn has come at last. I thought I 
had settled doAvn into a regular old bachelor, but I be- 
lieve that is just the state of mind in which one is most 
liable to infection. However that may be, I have caught 
it, and am in for it, as badly as any young lad of twenty." 

Mrs. Churchill had risen from her seat, and crossed 
the room to Frank. Putting her hand lightly on his 
head, she then flung her arms round him and kissed him 
warmly, saying, "God bless you, my darling boy, and 
grant you happiness ! God bless you, my son, my own 
son !" and she fairly broke down, and the tears coursed 
down her cheeks. 

" Why, mum !" said Churchill, gently caressing her ; 
" why, mum !" continued he, stroking her soft gray hair 
with one hand, while the other was wound round her. 
" You must not do this, mum. And here's a mother for 



MOTIIEIl AXD SOX. 153 

you ! I declare she has never yet asked who or what the 
lady is !" 

" That will come presently, darling ; just now I am 
only thinking of you — thinking how different it — how, 
after so long — how strange — there, come now, and tell 
me all about it ;" and with one great effort Mrs. Churchill 
composed herself, and sat down by her son's side to hear 
his story. 

That story lasted far into the night. Frank told of all 
his hesitation ; of his determination not to propose ; of 
the accident that brought about the great result of his 
happiness ; and of the manner in which the affair was 
viewed by old Miss Lexden. He then said that he and 
Barbara were determined upon getting married at once, 
and that he had come up to town principally with the 
view of looking out some lodgings which he could take 
in the neighbourhood for them to return to after their 
honeymoon. His mother listened patiently throughout, 
with her calm, earnest eyes fixed upon his face, and only 
now and then commenting in a low tone ; but when he 
finished, she laid her hand on his and said quietly : 

"You will bring your bride here, Frank, and I will 
go into the lodgings. Henceforth this house is yours, 
my boy ! You are the head of our family now, and I — 
so long as I'm near you and can see you from time to 
time, what more do I w r ant ? So long as you are happy, 
I am happy, and — " 

" But you don't imagine, mother, I'm going to turn 
you out, and—" 

"There's no turning out in the case, my darling. 
Lucy and I could not occupy the house by ourselves, and 
we shall be much better in lodgings. Besides, we won't 
have any one say that you had not a house of your own 
to bring your wife to. I shall see her soon, Frank ? Do 
you think she'll like me, my darling ? When she knows 
how I love you, I am sure she will ; and yet I am not 
certain of that. You'll come and see me often, won't you, 
Frank? and— oh, my boy, my own darling boy!" and 
she fell on his neck and wept bitterly. 



CHAPTEE XYI. 

"FOB, better, for worse.' 

When Churchill returned to Bissett, he found that a 
considerable change had taken place in the aspect of 
affairs there. Beresford and Lyster had departed, and 
old Miss Lexden was on the point of starting that very 
afternoon, her natty boxes in their leather cases lining the 
hall ; for the old lady was calmly implacable, and never 
altered one jot of her original determination. After his 
talk with Frank Churchill, Sir Marmaduke had deter- 
mined on using his best efforts towards restoring peace, 
and setting affairs on an amicable footing ; so the next 
morning, when he was closeted with Major Stone dis- 
cussing various points of business, the old gentleman 
gradually wore round to the matter perplexing him, took 
Stone into his confidence, and finished by commanding 
the major immediately to seek a conference with Miss 
Lexden, to inform her of Sir Marmacluke's views, and 
use his best efforts to bring her at least to a compromise. 
The gallant warrior received the commission with a very 
ill grace. He hinted that to look after his friend's rents 
and tenants, farm and live-stock, servants and money- 
matters, was all well enough; but to have to collogue 
with a parcel of old cats who — however, since it was 
to be done, he supposed he must do it; and he would 
" tackle" the old lady at once. But the old lady carried 
far too many guns for this blundering half-pay Major, 
and before he had been in her company five minutes 
made him feel exceedingly sorry that he had asked for 
the interview. Miss Lexden received him in the plea- 
santest manner, talked lightly of the weather, praised in 
the highest terms Major Stone's admirable management 



"FOR BKTTKU, FOR WORSE." 155 

of Sir Marmaduke's estate, could not imagine how Sir 
Marmaduke would get on without his "other self;" and 
then, when Stone's nattered vanity led him to disclose 
the real object of his visit, Miss Lexden pulled up short, 
and in her most dignified and icy manner declared that 
" these were family matters, which allowed of no inter- 
vention by a third person, especially one entirely uncon- 
nected with either side, and therefore incapable of appre- 
ciating the delicacies of the position ; what, for instance, 
would Sir Marmaduke have thought of her if she had 
sent Withers to enter into negotiations !" and thus having 
completely upset the Major, Miss Lexden summarily dis- 
missed him. 

When he returned to his principal, and gave him a 
full account of his treatment, the old gentleman was very 
wrath, and took a speedy opportunity of waiting person- 
ally upon Miss Lexden. 

After exchanging ordinary civilities, their conversa- 
tion was short and sharp. 

'• Susan ! you're behaving sillily, worse than sillily, 
in this matter of Barbara and Frank Churchill ; and I've 
come to tell you of it !" 

"It's not the first time, Marmaduke, that you have 
come to me on a fool's errand." 

First blood to Miss Lexden : the old man thought of 
the days of his courtship, when he owed but little to 
Susan Lexden's assistance, and winced. 

"Thank you! You're kind and generous as ever! 
But it was not to talk of bygone times that I came here. 
Take my word, Susan, you're wrong in your treatment 
of this business." 

" As how, pray ?" 

"You've played for a big stake with Barbara, and 
she won't have it ! She's fallen in love, in real desperate 
love ; no make-believe humbug, but regular love !" 

Miss Lexden. shrugged her shoulders, raised her eye- 
brows, and tattooed impatiently with her foot. 

" God knows she's to be envied," said the old gentle- 
man ; " how many girls are there, do you think, who are 



156 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

booked for marriage before next spring, who would give 
tbeir ears to feel to their future husbands as Barbara 
does to hers ? It's not about her I'm come to preach, it's 
about you. You're behaving like an idiot, Susan, — ■ 
worse than an idiot, — in thus refusing your countenance 
to the match." 

"You're growing horribly coarse in your language, 
Marmaduke, and unfit for me to listen to. But since 
you've broached the topic, hear me : I shall leave Bissett 
at once ; and once gone, I shall never see Barbara again. 
I shall not give her one sixpence for her trousseau, or 
make one addition to her wardrobe. I will not allow her 
a penny, and I will strive to forget that I ever knew 
there was such a person on earth. She has grievously 
disappointed me, and been selfish and ungrateful ; but I 
shall not cast her off, or do any thing melodramatic or 
nonsensical ; I shall simply ignore her existence, and live 
on as though she had never been." 

Sir Marmaduke retired, boiling over with rage. An 
hour afterwards he sent for Barbara to the library and 
placing a cheque for 100/. in her hands, told her he had 
arranged with Mrs. Vincent to accompany her to town 
and get the requisite articles for her trousseau at once. 
Her aunt was about to leave, he said ; but Mrs. Vincent 
had promised to stop and act chaperon, and Miss Towns- 
hend would be bridesmaid. Let the wedding take place 
at once, since both the young people wished it, and let it 
be from Bissett. There would be no fuss, no tomfoolery; 
but no one should be able to say in future that there 
was any thing underhand or secret about her marriage, 
or that it was not properly countenanced by some of the 
family. If her aunt chose to be an old fool, that was 
her look-out, not his. And then the old gentleman kissed 
her on the forehead, and told her that while he lived she 
and Frank should never want a friend. 

Miss Lexden left on the evening of the day on which 
Churchill returned, without seeing him or taking fare- 
well of any of the household. Mr. Townshend would 
have liked to go too, but his daughter strongly objected, 



"FOE BETTER, FOR WORSE." 157 

determining to remain with Barbara ; a determination in 
which she was well supported by Mr. Schroder, who had 
taken great interest in Barbara's " love-affair" ever since 
it had been made public — as apparently seeing therein 
an excess of romance which might cast a halo over his 
own somewhat meagre and prosaic wooing. Mrs. Vin- 
cent, too, entered into the affair with great spirit, princi- 
pally incited thereto by her hatred of old Miss Lexden, 
who had been particularly rude about Mr. Vincent's little 
gastronomical tastes ; and Sir Marmaduke seemed for a 
time to have eschewed his eccentricity, and to have be- 
come perfectly humanised. Of course Major Stone was in 
great force, rallying the lovers with much subtle humour, 
and looking after all the preparations for the Avedding 
with as much interest as though he were a person princi- 
pally concerned. 

The day arrived, and the weather did its very noblest 
for the young people. The sky was cloudless, and the 
sun brilliant, if not warm. Barbara was in the finest 
health and spirits, and never looked more lovely than in 
her plain white silk dress and Brussels lace — the latter an 
old family relic. The wedding took place at the little 
parish-church, where three bells rang a somewhat abbre- 
viated but merry peal, while the villagers thronged the 
churchyard and did proper obeisance and gratulation to 
a party coming from " the Grange." Afterwards there 
was a breakfast, at which no one save the clergyman and 
the house-inmates were present, where there was only 
one speech of four words,— "God bless them both !" from 
Sir Marmaduke ; and then, kisses and hand-shakings 
done, they departed. As Churchill shook hands with the 
old gentleman, the latter left an envelope in his godson's 
hands, which, on opening, he found to contain a bank- 
note for fifty pounds, with the words "For the honey- 
moon" in the envelope. Nor had Barbara been without 
her presents. On the previous evening she had received 
a packet containing a necklace of ivy-leaves in dead deep- 
coloured gold, with earrings to match, and in the case 
Captain Lyster's card, with " With all good wishes" 



158 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

■written on it ; while a splendid enamel and diamond 
bracelet came to her as the joint gift of Mr. Schroder 
and Alice Townshend. 

While the happy couple were honeymooning it in the 
north of Devon, unconsciously standing as capital models 
of posed figures to several artists who had lingered be- 
yond most of their fraternity in those pleasant quarters, 
old Mrs. Churchill, having engaged a tolerably neat lodg- 
ing not far from her old abode, devoted herself and some 
of her savings to the embellishment of the house in Great 
Aclullam Street, which was newly painted outside, and re- 
vived within to the extent of new carpeting and a general 
polishing of the furniture. Intelligence of these triumphs 
had been duly conveyed in letters to Frank, who in re- 
turn, thanked his mother, and sent a postscript by Bar- 
bara, who, addressing her as " her dear mother," begged 
her not to over-fatigue herself in their service ; which 
little message, signed "Your affectionate daughter, B. C," 
brought tears of delight into the old lady's eyes, and had 
the effect of causing her to redouble her exertions. At 
last the day for their return arrived, and the rain, which 
had been threatening for nearly a week past, broke through 
the yellow canopy of fog hanging over London, and came 
down heroically. It was not favourable weather in which 
to make one's first acquaintance with Great Adullam Street, 
which required a good deal of sunlight to do away with 
its normal ghastliness ; and as the evening twilight, drear 
and dim, came rolling up, Eleanor Churchill, sitting at 
the window of her lodgings on the look-out for the cab, 
which must pass her door, felt her heart sink within her 
with a strange, indefinable sensation of dread. Her deli- 
cacy had prevented her being present on her new daugh- 
ter's first arrival at her home ; but she now almost re- 
gretted that she had not gone round to welcome her 
among her new and strange surroundings. Great Adul- 
lam Street very seldom had a cab rattling over its ill-set 
stones ; there was a large gate at one end (as is frequent- 
ly the case in the neighbourhood), where every public 



" FOR, BETTER, FOR WORSE." 159 

vehicle was stopped, and sent by a different route, at the 
mandate of a very sullen gate-keeper, unless it happened 
to be bound to some house in the street. So that when 
Mrs. Churchill heard the creaking gates open, followed 
by the noise of wheels, she knew that her children had 
arrived, and looking out, saw by the lamplight Barbara's 
handsome face at the cab-window. "Handsome, very 
handsome and patrician-looking," thought the old lady ; 
'• but what a strange look of bewilderment on it !" 

The cab stopped, and Churchill jumped out and handed 
Barbara into the house. Lucy, old Mrs. Churchill's ser- 
vant, stood within the door, and gave a very grim bow 
as Barbara passed; the two newly-hired servants were 
smirking in the passage. Frank hurried past them, and 
led Barbara into the little dining-room. She was very 
tired with her journey, and at once sat down. 

" Who was that horrid person, Frank, at the door, — • 
with the strange sour look, I mean ?" 

" Oh, my mother's servant, old Lucy ; been with her 
since her girlhood. She has not prepossessing manners, 
but she's a faithful creature. You'll make much of her, 
dearest." 

" Nothing, I should hope ; she's too horrible ! "What 
a disagreeable colour this paper is, and what a horribly 
prim carpet ! I'll take off my things, Frank, at once, and 
come down to dinner ; I'm rather faint." 

Churchill lit a candle, and preceded her up the stairs 
— at the carpet on which Barbara made a despairing 
shrug — to the best bedroom, erst his mother's, where 
stood the heavy four-post bed, the old-fashioned ma- 
hogany wardrobe, the dingy pictures of sacred subjects — 
all the furniture just as he recollected it for years. It 
was rather a ghastly room, certainly; and when Frank 
had left her, to go down and pay the cabman and see 
about the luggage, she glanced nervously round, and 
burying her face in her hands, burst into a flood of 
tears. 

Thus her husband found her when he returned. He 
at once rushed up to her, and asked her what was the 



160 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

matter ; but she replied that she was a little over-fatigued, 
and would be better after the dinner and rest. 

"That's well," said Frank cheerfully; "you must 
not give way now, darling ; recollect you're at home." 

At which words, strange though it may appear, Bar- 
bara's sobs were redoubled. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

MINING OPERATIONS. 

No sooner was the Churchills' wedding safely over than 
all further reason for keeping on the establishment at 
Bissett Grange was at an end, and the party broke up 
at once. >Sir Marmaduke went straight to Paris, and 
took up his quarters at Meurice's, according to his an- 
nual custom, to the disgust of Gumble, who detested all 
things " forring" with that pious horror always to be 
found in the British serving-class. The old gentleman 
knew Paris better perhaps than he knew London, and 
was thoroughly well known in the best circles of Parisian 
society; his eccentricity, quelqtie chose bizarre, which dis- 
tinguished him from the ordinary run of English visitors, 
made him popular with the young people, while his per- 
fectly polished manner to women, the unmistakable not- 
to-be - acquired high -breeding of the true gentleman, 
combined with his ready wit and biting sarcasm, both 
expressed in perfect French, rendered him a favourite 
with his coevals. To the Faubourg and its inhabitants, 
however, his visits were principally confined; he had 
never yielded allegiance to the Imperial Court, and used 
to speak of it and its august head in a very disparaging 
manner. " Gad, sir !" he would say in the smoke-room 
of Meurice's, after his return from the Franeais or from 
some grand reception, — "Gad, sir! I've a very low 
opinion of your what d'ye call him? — your Emperor! 
met him often when he was in England, — at Gore House, 
and two or three other places; always found him a silent, 
moody, stupid fellow — that's it! a stupid fellow, by 
Jove! — tries to make out that he holds his tongue to 

M 



162 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

think the more; like the monkey, you know. My belief 
is, that he's so deuced quiet because he's got nothing to 
say. And his surroundings, my dear fellow! his sur- 
roundings, awful! De Eossignol, who was a billiard- 
marker or a singer at a cafe chantant, or something of 
that kind; Oltenhaus, the financier, who is a Polish Jew, 
of the worst stamp ; and O'Malley, the Marshal, a mere 
Irish adventurer ! That is not the sort of stuff for Courts, 
sir! — the sweepings of the Boulevard theatres, the Juden- 
Gasse -at Frankfort, and the long-sword, saddle, bridle, 
whack-fol-de-rol, and all the rest of it, of the bold dra- 
goon ! Vieille e'coh bonne e'cole is a good maxim, by Jove ! 
They mayn't be clever; but they're gentle-people at least, 
and that's not saying a little for them !" 

So the old gentleman growled to the little select 
circle round him, enjoying himself meanwhile in the 
highest degree. Perhaps one of the most gratifying re- 
sults of his sojourn in Paris he could not have explained, 
though at the same time he was, however unconsciously, 
keenly sensible of it; it was that he had Grumble at his 
mercy. So desolate, so bored, so completely used up was 
that great man, that he looked forward to the time of 
his master's retiring for the night, and getting up in the 
morning, as the only two happy periods in his Parisian 
existence. All the toilet-ceremonies, before held by him 
in deep disgust, were now lingered over with the utmost 
fondness, and every scrap of gossip was brought forward 
in the chance of its provoking a discussion, and pro- 
tracting the period when the valet should be again re- 
legated to the company of the French and German 
waiters and pert ladies'-maids, who scoffed at Gumble's 
old-fashioned ways and stories. Of course there were 
other gentlemen's gentlemen installed with their masters 
at Meurice's; but they were all much younger than 
Gumble; and when their "governors" were not expected 
home till late, beguiled the weary hours with pleasant 
dances at the Salle Valentino, or such-like resorts. But 
Gumble was a little too old, and a great deal too insular, 
to enjoy these recreations. Once indeed he had beea 



MIXING OPERATIONS. 163 

persuaded into attending one of these public balls ; but 
the sight of his deep white choker, straight -brushed 
whiskers, and solemn old mug, had such an effect on the 
dancers, — Jules utterly missing his great bound in the 
cavalier sail, and Eulalie failing to touch her vis-a-vis 
shoulder with her toe in the en avant deux, — that he was 
requested to confine his tristesse to some other place ; 
and as he was really not amused, he willingly consented. 
So, after that, he remained at Meurice's, generally sitting- 
solitary in a crowd of chattering French servants, be- 
guiling the time sometimes by speculating how long his 
master would live, and what he would leave him at his 
death; whether a greengrocer's or a public-house would 
be the most profitable business to undertake with Sir 
Marmaduke's legacy; whether he could get any thing 
for the recipe of some wonderful boot-varnish which he 
alone possessed; sometimes by reading a shilling novel 
of fashionable life, or nodding dreamily over the Times 
of the previous day. One night, as he was attending his 
master to bed, he brought forth a special bit of news 
which he had reserved. 

" House full here, sir," said he, as he was mixing the 
old gentleman's evening draught. 

" Ah !" growled Sir Marmaduke. " G-od bless my soul, 
pack of people come over by the rail devilish cheap, and 
all that sort of thing. Poor dear old diligences kept the 
place clear; that was one comfort. Full, eh? Any body 
I know?" 

" Capting Currer, from the Forring Office, come in 
to-night, sir; saw he had a white shammy-leather bag 
with him, sir — " 

" Ah ! Queen's messenger off to-morrow morning to 
Smyrna or Kamschatka, or some infernal place. Any 
body else?" 

" Miss Lexden come, sir; but we was full here, just 
full; so she have gone next door to the Windsor, sir. 
Only Withers with her, sir; no one else. Must miss Miss 
Barbara, sir — Mrs. Churchill, sir — I shouldn't think, sir." 

" What the devil business is it of yours? What right 



164 BROKEX TO HARNESS. 

have you to think about it ? There now; be off! Good 
night." 

" Bless my soul !" said the old gentleman, when he 
■was left alone. " I'm deuced glad Susan didn't get in 
here, or she'd have led me a pretty life. I suppose I 
must call on her to-morrow morning. Deuced unplea- 
sant talk there'll be — Barbara, and all the rest of it. 
Poor girl ! Susan — too hard- — come round at last ;" and 
musing in this way Sir Marmaduke fell asleep. 

When, in the course of the next day, he called upon 
Miss Lexden, he found that lady in the highest spirits. 
" I knew you were here, Sir Marmaduke," said she. " I've 
had Cabanel here ;■ — you recollect little Cabanel? Spanish- 
looking little fellow with black eyes; was an attache 
when the Walewskis were in London; and he saw you 
at the duchess's last week. You're going there to-mor- 
row of course ? How well you look ! that's the climate, 
you know, and the style of life ; so much better than in 
that wretched old island of ours." 

'•What news do you bring from that wretched old 
island of ours ?" asked the old gentleman. 

" Xews ? none ; not a scrap, positively not a scrap ; 
nobody in town, not a soul. I didn't wait there above a 
day, but came through at once." 

" " You did not stop long enough to see the Churchills, 
I suppose ?" 

" The — eh ? I beg your pardon, I did not catch the 
name." 

" The Churchills." 

" Churchills !" echoed Miss Lexden, with the greatest 
deliberation ; " Churchills ! I have not the least idea 
who you mean." 

" Ah !" said Sir Marmaduke, through his closed teeth. 
" Xo, of course not ; you don't recollect your own bro- 
ther's child, even when there's no one in town. If it 
had been in the season, I could not have attempted to 
suggest any thing so horribly low ; but I thought per- 
haps, that when there was not a soul in town, as you 
said, you might have thought of the girl who is of your 



Ml.NLVG 0PKUAT1OXS. 163 

blood, and who has been, as it were, your daughter for 
ten years." And the old gentleman stamped his stick 
on the floor, and looked fiercely across at his cousin. 

" — h !" said Miss Lexden, perfectly calmly. " I 
didn't follow yon at first ; now I see. It seems strange 
to me that a man with your knowledge of the world, 
Marmaduke Wentworth, — more especially with your 
knowledge of me, derived in times past, when you had 
full opportunity of making yourself acquainted with my 
character, — should have imagined that I should for an 
instant have altered in my purpose as regards my niece 
Barbara. What is there to induce me to swerve one 
atom from — " 

'• "What ?" interrupted Sir Marmaduke ; " what ? Old 
age, Susan Lexden ! You and I are two old people, who 
ought to be thankful to have been left here so long ; and 
not to bear malice and all sorts of miserable hatred in 
our old age, more especially to our own kindred. You're 
vexed with Barbara, not unnaturally, as you'd set your 
heart upon seeing her married to a rich man ; but that's 
over now, and so make the best of it. Her husband's a 
good fellow and a gentleman ; so what more do you 
want?" 

'• What more !" exclaimed the old lady; " what more ! 
Freedom from this style of conversation ; permission to 
go my own way without comment or impertinent sug- 
gestion. I use the adjective advisedly ; I claim my 
right to visit those whom I like, to ignore those whom I 
dislike, without such remarks from those who I distinctly 
say have no right to make them. And, however old I 
may be, I am not yet sufficiently in my dotage to show 
affection, kindness, no, nor even recognition, to those 
who have wilfully disregarded my desires." 

So Sir Marmaduke retired worsted from the conflict, 

and contented himself with writing a letter to Major 

Stone, bidding that worthy take the first opportunity of 

a visit to town to ascertain how Churchill and Barbara 

were getting on. 

* # # * » 



166 BROKEN' TO HARXESS. 

Mr. Beresford, after leaving Bissett, went for a short 
visit to a bachelor friend with a shooting-box in Norfolk; 
and after enjoying some excellent sport, and nearly bor- 
ing himself to death, in the company of his host and a 
few hard-drinking sporting squires of the neighbourhood, 
returned to town — to his lodgings in South Audley 
Street, and to his daily routine of life. He did not at 
all dislike London in the autumn, when he had no calls 
to make ; when he could wear out his old clothes ; could 
smoke in the streets at any hour without loss of dignity; 
could get a little quiet reading and a little quiet play- 
going; and need not fear the admonitory missives of 
duns, who concluded that all their customers were, or 
ought to be, out of town at that dull season. Moreover, 
he had not spent all of the last two hundred pounds he 
had borrowed, and had received his October quarter's 
salary ; so that, on the whole, he was in very good case, 
and came smiling radiantly into Simnel's room on the 
first morning after his return. Mr. Simnel, as usual, had 
a pile of papers before him ; but he pushed them aside at 
Beresford's entrance ; rose up, welcomed him ; and plac- 
ing his back against the mantel-piece, at once entered 
into conversation. 

" Well, Mr. Commissioner," he commenced ; " so 
you've got back to the hive, eh ? and now I suppose you 
mean to remain and let one of the other hard- worked 
members of the Board have a little rest, eh ?" 

" Yes," replied Beresford ; " I'm a fixture now for a 
long time ; I must take to the collar, and stick to it ; 
but you, old fellow, — do you mean to say you've been 
here all this blessed time ?" 

" I've not moved away yet," said Simnel ; " some one 
must do the work, you know," he added with a meaning 



" Yes, I know, of course ; and a deuced hard grind 
you've had of it. But you'll go away now, I suppose ?" 

" No ; I shall run down to Leicestershire and get a 
little hunting next month perhaps ; that is, if I can get 
away ; and I might taks a fortnight in Paris at Chnst- 



MINIM! Ol'KKATIOXK. 1G7 

mas, just to avoid the ' God bless yous" and 'Happy 
years !' and other jackass congratulations, which I hate 
and abominate." 

"Genial creature!" said Beresford, regarding- him 
with great complacency ; " ivhat's the news ?" 

'• That's just what I should ask you," retorted Simnel; 
" there's no news here. Sir Hickory has been to the 
Lakes, and ' my lady' was much pleased with Ullswater ; 
which is more, I should think, than Ullswater was with 
' my lady,' always supposing Ullswater to have any taste. 
Old Peck has slept as much as usual ; but has not de- 
voted as much time as he generally does to his get-up, 
and has consequently been rather red and rusty about 
his beard. O'Scanlon has been dying for your return, 
that he may get away ; and the men in the Office are 
just the same as ever. Oh, by the way, I see that mar- 
riage has come off?" 

" "Which marriage ?" 

" That man Churchill, who was staying with you at 
old Wentworth's, has married that dashing girl — what 
was her name — ? — Lexden !" 

" Yes ; and the other marriage has come off. Old 
Schroder is one flesh now with Miss Townshend ; that's 
a nice thing to think of, isn't it ?" 

' : Ay, I heard of that too ; saw it in the paper of 
course ; but beyond that, one of the young fellows here, 
Pringle, had cards ; he's a connexion, or something of 
the sort." 

" Yes ; they've taken a thundering big house in Saxe- 
Coburg Square,— in the new South-Kensington district, 
you know, — and are coming out heavily. There's a din- 
ner there on Thursday, to which I'm asked ; and a re- 
ception afterwards. It's a bad time of year ; but there 
men/ be some new fillies trotted out, you know." 

" All ! you've done nothing more in that matter, I 
suppose ? no one on hand just now ! no combination of 
money and beauty, as Jack Palmer says, when he rides 
with Schwarzchild into the City?" 

" None ! I've had no chance ; but I should think 



168 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

this wouldn't be a bad opening. They are a tremendously 
well-tinned set at Schroder's ; and he's safe to ask no 
women who are not enormously ingotted. With such 
girls, unaccustomed to any thing but what was Padding- 
ton and is now Tybumia, one might have a chance, for 
they've seen nothing decent yet, you know. Your stock- 
brokering gent is a hopeless beast !" And Mr. Beresford 
shrugged his shoulders, and then looked down at his feet, 
as though Capel Court lay beneath them. 

" You're going to the dinner ?" asked Simnel. 

" Going, my dear fellow ! if you had been staying for 
the last month, as I have, with Jim Coverdale, you 
wouldn't ask the question. No better fellow than Jim 
breathes, and there's always capital sport to be got at his 
place ; but the cooking is something indescribably atro- 
cious. One always feels inclined, when he asks you what 
you'd like for dinner, to use the old mot, and say, ' Chez 
vous, monsieur, on mange, mats on ne dine pas.' After a 
month's experience of Coverdale's cook, I am looking for- 
ward with eager anticipation to the performances of such 
an artist as Schroder will probably employ." 

" I should think," said Mr. Simnel, after a minute's 
pause — " I should think it probable that Mr. Townshend 
will be there." 

" First dinner after his daughter's marriage," said 
Beresford. " Duty, by Jove ! Of course he will." 

" If he is there, I want you to do me a favour," said 
Simnel, quietly. 

" And that is — ?" asked Beresford, in whose ears the 
word ' favour' always rang with a peculiar knell. 

" A very slight one, and involving very little trouble 
to you ; else, you may take your oath, I know you too 
well to expect you'd grant it," said Simnel, with some 
asperity. "No ! I merely want you, in the course of con- 
versation, and when you have fully secured Mr. Towns- 
hend's attention, to introduce, no matter how, the name 
of a firm — Pigott and "Wells." 

" Pigott and Wells !" repeated Beresford, mechani- 
cally. 



MIXIXG OPERATIONS. 1G9 

"Pigott and Wells. Should he ask you any thing 
further, you will remember that it is the name of a 
cotton firm in Combcardingham ; and take care that it 
fits into your story. That's all !" 

" It won't get me into any row, will it ?" asked the 
cautious commissioner ; " you're such a tremendously 
sly old diplomate, such an infernal old Machiavel, that I 
am always afraid of your getting me into a mess." 

" Sweet innocent ! you need not fear. There's no 
harm in the name. Of course, it depends upon yourself 
how you bring it in." 

And Mr. Beresford, with a vivid recollection of owing- 
eight hundred pounds to Mr. Simnel, undertook the com- 
mission. 

About the same time Mr. Schroder's domestic arrange- 
ments were being discussed under the same roof, in No. 
120. 

" What are you going to do on Thursday night, Jim?" 
asked Mr. Pringle of Mr. Prescott. 

" Nothing," said Mr. Prescott. 

" Then don't," said Mr. Pringle. " It don't answer 
and it don't pay. I've got a card for a party in Saxe- 
Coburg Square, and I'll take you if you like to come." 

" But I don't like to come. I'm sick of all your par- 
ties, with the same grinning and bowing nonsense, the 
same bosh talked, the same wretched routine from first 
to last. Who are the people?" 

" Now, what a duffer you are !" said Mr. Pringle ; 
" first you declaim in the strongest virtuous indignation 
against all parties, and then you ask who the people are! 
Well ; they are connexions of mine. Old Townshend, my 
godfather, who's an old beast, and who never gave me 
any thing except a tip of half-a-crown once when I was 
going to school, has married his daughter — deuced pretty 
girl she is too — to a no-end rich City party — Schroder 
by name. And Mrs. Schroder is ' at home' on Thursday 
evening, ' small and early;' and I've got a card, and can 
take you. There's a dinner-party first, I hear, but I'm 
not asked to that." 



170 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" "VVliat a pity!" said Prescott; " your true philosopher 
only goes to dinners. Balls and receptions are -well enough 
when one is very young; but they soon pall. There is in 
them an insincere glitter, a spurious charm, which — " 

" Yes, thank ye," interrupted Mr. Pringle; " for which 
see Pelliam passim, or the collected works of the late Lord 
Byron. Much obliged ; but I subscribe to Mudie's ; and 
would sooner read the sentiments in the original authors. 
What I want to know is, whether you'll come?" 

" No, then." 

" Yes, you will. I know you, you old idiot, and all 
the reason for your moping, — as though that would ad- 
vance the cause one bit. Yes, you will. We'll dine at 
Simpson's; have a quiet weed in my chambers; dress 
there; and go into the vortex together." 



CHAPTEB XVIII. 

THE SCHEciDEBS AT HOME. 

Me. Beeesfobd was thoroughly well-informed when he 
announced Miss Townshend's marriage with M. Gustav 
Schroder. That event took place almost immediately 
after the break-up of the party at Bissett Grange, and 
Sir Marmaduke attended it on his way through to Paris. 
The wedding was a very grand affair, and created quite 
a sensation in the dead time of the year. A bishop, who 
in his private capacity held some land which he had sold 
to a railway company numbering Mr. Townshend among 
its directors, was entrapped for the ceremony, which, of 
course, took place at St. George's, Hanover Square. There 
was such a gathering of carriages, and such a champing 
and stamping of horses in George Street, that two men 
who were sleeping at Limmer's, on their way through 
town, were actually induced to shake off dull sloth so 
early as eleven a.m., and to peer out of the window at 
the cavalcade; satisfying themselves with a very short 
glance, however, and returning to their couches again 
with great alacrity. Very great magnates in the bank- 
ing world, the brokering world, the colonial-export world, 
and the shipping world, were present; as were M. Hein- 
rich Schroder, representative of the house at Frankfort, a 
bent shrivelled old gentleman, with marked Jewish pro- 
file ; thin hands always plucking at his thin lips, and a 
very small knowledge of the English language; — M. Louis 
Schroder, who represented the house at Paris, a man of 
forty, short, stout, genial, and jolly; speaking all lan- 
guages with equal case ; with a keen eye for making 
money, but enjoying nothing better than spending it; 



172 BROKEN TO HAllXESS. 

drinking very little, but fond of high-living and high- 
play; and showing general sensuality in his thick scarlet 
lips and short pudgy hands ; more Schroders, male and 
female, from Hamburg, from Mainz, from Florence ; and 
one — very much burnt up — who had just returned from 
losing his liver, and gaining his fortune at Ceylon. Mr. 
Townshend contributed the eminent personages in City 
firms above mentioned, but none of his family were pre- 
sent ; and it was remarked by some of the guests, that 
none of his family had ever been seen by any body, — 
any body meaning, of course, any body in their society; 
but, owing to its being the dull season of the year, Miss 
Townshend's list was not as brilliant as it might have 
been. For instance, ever since as a child she married 
her doll to a resplendent individual in a soft scarlet-cloth 
coat, a cocked hat, and a pair of linen trousers (supposed 
to be of the male sex, but really another doll in disguise, 
as proved by the lump of painted hair projecting behind), 
she had always intended having eight bridesmaids; but 
Clara Hamilton and Kate Brandon were away with their 
people, and in their places she had asked the Melville 
girls, to whom, as she afterwards found, her trump card, 
her prettiest bridesmaid Carry Seaward, did not speak. 
So that the cards had all to be shuffled again, and even- 
tually she got four very pretty attendants to the altar. 
Barbara and her husband were away honeymooning; and 
she didn't like to ask Captain Lyster, having a perfect 
recollection of that morning in the library at Bissett, and 
thinking that his presence on such an occasion would 
probably render them both extremely uncomfortable. 

But altogether the wedding went off with success; for 
the bishop was not only impressively solemn dming the 
ceremony, but was pleasantly jocose afterwards, cracked 
tepid little jokes with infinite gusto; and a tepid jokelet 
from a bishop is worth more than a brilliant mot from 
a professional wit. And the company, though not very 
brilliant in intellect, was quite brilliant enough to laugh 
when a bishop said a good thing ; and every body was 
very well dressed ; and the wedding presents, duly set 



T1IK SCHUi'iDKliS AT 1I0MK. 173 

out on a side-table, made a splendid show. The Sehro- 
ders were to the fore in the matter of wedding presents; 
the City magnates of the Townshend connexion did pretty 
well, so far as silver tea-services, and wine-coolers, and 
ice-pails, and fish knives and forks, and splendidly-carved 
ivory tankards with massive silver covers, were concerned, 
and in all the usual wedding-gift nonsense of butter-dish 
and card-bowl ; but the Schroders gave diamond-necklaces 
and sets of turquoises and opals in old-fashioned filigree 
settings, and tiny watches from Leroy's, costing 3000 
francs, and Barbediennc's rarest bronzes, and the choicest 
carvings from the Frankfort Zeil. Mr. Schroder, too, had 
taken his bride elect, two days before the marriage, to 
Long Acre, and shown her the neat little single brougham, 
and the elegant open carriage; and then had driven on to 
"if ice's, and had had trotted out the fast trotters and the 
elegant steppers which had been reserved for them. And 
Alice Townshend thought of all these things as she stood 
at the altar beside the elderly gentleman with the small 
eyes and the stubbly gray hair; and the shudder which 
passed through her, as she solemnly vowed to honour 
and obey him, was a little mitigated by the recollection 
of his wealth, and her consequent future position. 

The honeymoon was spent partly at Brussels, partly 
at Paris, and then the newly-married couple came home 
to their house in Saxe-Coburg Square. Fifteen years ago, 
just before the first Great Exhibition (the Great Exhibi- 
tion! we who had geleM iind gelieht before '51 know how 
poor the other one was in comparison to it!), the tract 
of land whereon Saxe-Coburg, Gotha. Coleraine, and Dilk- 
ington Squares, Adalbert Crescent, and Guelph Place now 
stand, was known as Grunter's Grounds, and was tenanted 
by an honest market-gardener, who found a very remu- 
nerative market in Covent Garden for his cabbage culti- 
vation. But Hodder, the great builder, marked the army 
of luxury marching rapidly west; and knowing that quar- 
ters must be found for it, saw in Grunter's Grounds the 
exact place for the erection of those squares, crescents, 
terraces, and places, of which bis architect, Palladio Hicks, 



174 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

had so elaborately shown the elevation on paper, but had 
erected so few. Mr. Hodder discovered that the nursery- 
man was in the last eighteen months of his lease, and 
that G-runter's Grounds belonged to a charity, the trus- 
tees of which were always quarreling among themselves. 
This was enough for Hodder; he soon wormed his way 
into the confidence of some of the trustees; and eventually 
succeeded in getting the renewal of the lease refused to 
the market-gardener, and the ground made over to him, 
on building lease, at a very cheap rate. Now do you 
wonder why Mrs. Hodder drives one of the most stylish 
equipages in the Park; or why, in her amateur theatri- 
cals, she manages to get hold of all that extraordinary 
histrionic genius, which, by an odd concurrence of events, 
always accompanies the possession of a clerkship in the 
Treasury? That was a splendid speculation for Mr. Hod- 
der. There are thirty-six houses in Saxe-Coburg Square, 
for instance; and each of them lets at 820/. a-year. They 
are all, as Mr. Thackeray said of the Pyramids, " very 
big," and very ugly; great gaunt stuccoed erections, bow- 
windowed, plate-glassed, and porticoed after the usual pre- 
valent pattern, with a small square courtyard looking into 
a mews behind, and Mr. Swiveller's prospect, " a delight- 
ful view of — over the way," in front. But they let won- 
derfully; it is the thing to live in that quarter; and 
hangers-on to the selvage of fashion, clerks in public 
offices, who have married into aristocratic poor families, 
and suchlike, will be found bargaining for a ghastly little 
hole in Adalbert Crescent or Guelph Place, when they 
could get a capital roomy house at Highgate or Hamp"- 
stead, with a big garden, in which their " young bar- 
barians" could be " all at play" from morning till night, 
for far less money. Mr. Schroder's house was furnished 
very expensively, and, considering all had been left to 
the upholsterer, in not bad taste. The dining-room was 
in light oak, carved high-backed chairs in green morocco; 
a large massive round-table in the centre, with half-a- 
dozen swinging moderator-lamps over it; Wardour-Street 
Kubenses and apocryphal ancestors on the walls. Behind 



THE SCHRoDERS AT HOME. 175 

this the library in dark oak, splendid writing-table, quaint 
old carved Davenport desk from a Carmelite monastery; 
wonderful collection of books, the result of the blending 
of two library sales at Hodgson's, — one the gathering of a 
bibliomaniacal virtuoso, the other of a sporting nobleman, 
— and before-letter proofs, after Landseer. The drawing- 
rooms I should utterly fail in endeavouring to describe, 
t-o content myself by remarking that they were halls of 
dazzling light, — allowed by their worst enemies, the cri- 
tics, to be "delicious;" by their most captions, to be "effec- 
tive," — splendidly furnished, and opening on to conserva- 
tories and boudoirs and canvas-covered balconies. 

Mr. Schroder was not the man to hide his candle 
under a bushel; nor, having spent a vast amount of 
money on his house and its decorations, to keep them 
solely for the contemplation of himself and his wife: so 
it was at his suggestion that the dinner-party and re- 
ception were organised. Mrs. Schroder at once gave her 
acquiescence; indeed, just at this period of her life, she 
was in too dazed a state to do any thing more than 
follow suit. She knew her father to be wealthy, and 
always had lived in good style; but she also knew that 
her parent was a great tyrant — one of those "stern" 
persons so popular in novels ; and she had had many 
visions of resisting him ; of flying from his roof with 
some young lover not overburdened with riches; of love 
in a cottage, and other maniacal ideas of the same de- 
scription; and now she found that the time had come 
and passed; that she had not resisted at all; and that 
she was settled down with a gray-headed, elderly 
husband, who was one of the richest men in London. 
It was not her childhood's dream, perhaps; but it was 
by no means uncomfortable; and Mrs. Schroder wisely 
determined to accept the riches, and to forget the gray- 
ness of the head; and went in for the dinner-party with 
spirit. 

Husband and wife furnished about an equal comple- 
ment of friends to the banquet, which was very splendid, 
but at first rather dull. Old Heinrich Schroder, who 



176 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

had not yet returned to Frankfort, was present; and as 
he spoke scarcely any English, he did not enliven the 
conversation; which, however, was often polyglot. The 
magnates from the City and their wives ate a good deal, 
and talked very little; while some of the younger and 
more aristocratic people brought in by Mrs. Schroder 
were silent as becomes " swells," and only occasionally 
worked eyebrow or shoulder telegraphs to each other, 
in silent wonder at, and depreciation of, their neigh- 
bours. Mr. Beresford began to be awfully bored, and 
tried topic after topic without meeting with the least 
success. At last, however, he seemed to have stumbled 
on one that awoke a certain amount" of general interest. 

'■ Seen your newly-elected brother-director of the 
Terra-del-Fuego Company yet, Mr. Schroder?" he asked. 

" Colonel Levison?" said Mr. Schroder; " no, not yet; 
we've had no board-day since his election." 

" Man of mark, sir," said an old gentleman, who had 
painted his chin and shirt-front with turtle-soup. 

"What Levison is it, Beresford?" asked Captain 
Lyster, who was seated near Mrs. Schroder. 

".Tack Lcvison; von know him. Wonderful life he's 
had !" 

"Has he?" said Mrs. Schroder, on whom the dulness 
had settled like a pall. "Oh, do tell us about it, Mr. 
Beresford; that is, if .you may." 

"Oh. yes. I may," laughed Beresford; "though it's 
nothing much to tell. Jack was in the 9th, and" came 
into five thousand pounds at his father's death; sold out; 
speculated in cotton, and made it twenty; speculated in 
hides, and lost every sixpence. "Went out to Australia 
on the first discovery of gold; was a boot-black in Mel- 
bourne; actually had a stand and brushed boots, you 
know; afterwards was cad to the Ballarat omnibus; fact, 
give you my word ! At last got up to the diggings; 
worked with varying luck, until at last turned up 
monster nugget, and hit upon a splendid -vein; stuck to 
it quietly, and made a fortune. Realised; came back to 
England, and has doubled it. Curious life, isn't it ?'* 



THE SCIIRuDERS AT HOME. 177 

"How Tory odd!" said Mrs. Schroder, trying to ex- 
tract a remark from a very gorgeous lady on her right; 
" fancy, blacking boots !" 

"And what do you call 'em to a bus?" said the lady, 
who, though gorgeous, was Clapham-born, and still 
possessed her native dialect. 

" Must be clayver man," hazarded a tall, thin gentle- 
man, a light of the Draft and Docket Office, who was 
very short-sighted, and perpetually kept in his eye a 
glass, with which he endeavoured to focus somebody 
into conversation; hitherto hopelessly. 

'■ Oh, yes," said his neighbour, a bald man, with 
cinnamon whiskers, whose life was passed in saying the 
wrong thing in the wrong place — " oh, yes ; but don't 
you know he's Boswell Levison's brother. He's a Jew !" 

Every body looked involuntarily at old Heinrich 
Schroder, about whose origin there could be no doubt, 
and who had that face which you may see repeated by 
hundreds in the Frankfort Juden-Gasse. 

" Ha ! ha !" said the old gentleman, catching the last 
word, and finding himself the centre of attraction; "was 
Chew! ya, zo; Chew ist goot." 

Mr. Schroder turned a dull lead colour, and a general 
awe-struck silence fell upon the company, which was 
broken by Beresford, Avho, again coming to the rescue, 
said : 

"You knew Levison, Monkhouse? We stayed toge- 
ther in his uncle's house two years ago." 

The man with the eye-glass made a vain attempt to 
focus Beresford, and said, " Did we?" 

'• Yes, of course we did. You recollect, at Macarum's, 
near Elgin?" 

Mr. Monkhouse dropped his glass from his eye, and 
looked up to the ceiling for inspiration; then, re-fixing 
it, said, "Oh, ah! Elgin! I know! — where the marble 
comes from?" 

The Levison subject now being evidently exhausted, 
and the conversation becoming hopelessly idiotic, Captain 
Lyster strikes in at a tangent, and asks Mrs, Schroder 

N 



178 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

whether she has seen any thing recently of her friend, 
Mrs. Churchill, — Miss Lexden that was. 

Mrs. Schroder replies in the negative, adding that 
she had called upon Barbara "in, oh, such a strange 
street!" but had not found her at home: the Churchills 
had been asked to dine there that day, but had declined 
on account of Mr. Churchill's engagements. It was, how- 
ever, probable that they might come in the evening. 
Hearing the name of Churchill mentioned, Mr. Beresford 
chimes in. 

"Ah, by the way, the Churchills! friends of yours, 
Mrs. Schroder? How are they getting on? Love- 
match, and all that kind of thing, hey? Clever man, 
Churchill; but should have kept to his own set; married 
the daughter of his printer or publisher, or some fellow 
of that sort ; not taken away one of our stars." 

" What do you mean by his own set, Mr. Beresford?" 
said Lyster, rousing himself. "Mr. Churchill, I take it, 
is a gentleman in every sense of the word. I don't know 
whom you have been accustomed to associate with, but I 
never saw a better-bred man." 

Mr. Beresford pauses for a moment, startled at the 
attack ; then a smile passes over his face as he says, " I 
didn't impugn your friend's breeding, Captain Lyster; 
but I suppose even such a Corydon as you would allow 
the folly of a love-match with no money on either side?" 

It is probable that Captain Lyster might have re- 
plied, even seeing, clearly as he did, that the tendency 
of the conversation was towards an argument in which 
he would have to exert himself; but the cinnamon- 
whiskered man, who had been waiting for an opportunity 
of speaking, now saw his chance, and burst forth — " Love- 
match!" said he; "no money on either side! What then? 
Do you imagine that two people, young, attached to each 
other, who risk a— a— what d'ye call um? — fight in the 
great battle of life"— looking round and repeating " in 
the great battle of life — are not much happier than those 
who make, what you may call, sordid matches? Thus, 
for the sake of argument, an elderly man marries a young 



THE SCHIloDKHS AT HOME. 179 

girl; nothing in common between them; she simply 
maiiied for position, or to oblige her parents; and he — • 
well, I think we know the contemptible figure he cuts ; a 
case of buying and selling, as you would say in the City, 
eh, Schroder?" and the cinnamon-coloured man, who 
was great at a debating-society, looked in triumph at his 
host. 

Mr. Schroder, more leaden-coloured than ever, said, 
" Certainly." Mrs. Schroder, who had been looking down 
at the table, and playing with her dessert-knife, rose Avith 
the rest of the ladies, and left the room. After their 
departure, the West-end section, including Beresford, 
Lyster, and Monkhouse, seemed to get silent and ab- 
stracted; while Mr. Schroder's particular friends from 
the City, the bank-directors and public-company men, 
re-invigorated themselves with port, and discussed the 
politics of Threadneedle Street and the chances of change 
in the discount rate in hoarse whispers. Solemn dul- 
ness fell upon the West-end division: Lyster dropped 
into a semi-dose ; Mr. Monkhouse tried to focus the 
talkers one by one, but failing, fell to polishing his eye- 
glass and admiring his nails; the cinnamon-whiskered 
man cut into the conversation once in the wrong place, 
and, having plainly showed himself to be an idiot, was 
promptly extinguished; and Beresford fell into a dreamy 
state, in which his liabilities ranged themselves in hor- 
rible array before him, and he went into wild specula- 
tions as to how they might be met. While in this state, 
he became conscious of old Mr. Townshend's voice, lay- 
ing down the law, in most imperative style, on matters 
of finance, and suddenly he remembered his promise to 
Simnel. He waited for his opportunity when Mr. Towns- 
hend ceased for an instant, and then said : " My dear 
Mr. Schroder, you can't tell how horrible it is for us im- 
pecunious people to listen to this tremendously ingotted 
talk. We look upon you as a dozen Sinbad the Sailors, 
each having found his own peculiar treasure in the Valley 
of Diamonds. Ah ! if it were only given to me to fathom 
the secret of money-making !" 



180 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

The City section were pleased at this concession, and 
took the remarks as complimentary. Mr. Schroder smiled, 
and said sententiously: " Business has its cares as well as 
its pleasures." Mr. Townshend nodded his head, saying, 
" You gentlemen despise our prosaic ways and business 
routine; with you — " 

"Business routine!" exclaimed Beresford. "Why, 
you make a fortune by the arrival of a telegram, by 
the nod of a cabinet-minister's head. I'm not so igno- 
rant of these mercantile matters as you may fancy. When 
I was in the habit of staying with my intimate friend 
Pigott, of the firm of Pigott and Wells—" 

" What name did you say?" asked Mr. Townshend, 
with a blanched face. 

" Pigott and Wells," repeated Beresford slowly, look- 
ing at him stedfastly; "merchants of Combcardingham. 
Do you know the firm?" 

" Xo, not at all. That is — I — " and Mr. Townshend's 
teeth chattered as he gulped down a bumper of port and 
cowered in his chair, as a tremendous knock, reverberat- 
ing through the house, announced the arrival of the first 
guests for the reception. 

The reception. Item, Herr Klavierspieler, the cele- 
brated pianislr, who was so full of soul, and so myste- 
rious, and so thin, and so long-haired, and so silent. All 
sorts of stories afloat about Herr Klavierspieler, — that he 
communed with spirits; that he was a ghoule; that he 
was consuming away under an unrequited passion for an 
Austrian countess of excessive haughtiness; whereas in 
real truth he was the son of a saddler in the Breite Strasse 
of Dresden, and his liver was deranged, perhaps by his 
eating five heavy meals a day, and, save when he was 
playing in public, never being without a pipe in his 
mouth. Item, M. Bloffski, the Pole, the violincellist of 
the world, a fat man in spectacles, who perspired a great 
deal, breathed through his nose, had a red-cotton pocket- 
handkerchief, and played his instrument divinely. Item, 
Mr. Schrink, musical critic of the Statesman newspaper,' 



THE SCHRODERS AT HOME. 181 

a little man with a hump-back and a frightfully sensitive 
ear; a little man who would cower and shrink under false 
notes, and stamp and growl under bad singing; a little 
man whom every one hated, and who did not particularly 
like himself. Item, Fraulein Wi'mster, one of those Ger 
man young ladies who, ever since Jenny Lind's success, 
have been imported into England under the firm idea 
that they were " going to clo it," and who, having filled 
up gaps in the Hanover Square and St. James's Hall 
concerts, have returned to Vaterland without having 
made the smallest mark. Mr. Dabb, fashionable artist, 
whose portrait of Mr. Schroder decorated the walls, was 
there; as was Mr. Pleem, the author of Fashion and 
Satire — a young gentleman who, for a cynic, seemed on 
remarkably good terms with himself and his fellow-crea- 
tures. Mr. Pringle and Mr. Prescott arrived together; 
and just after the gentlemen came up from the dining- 
room, Mr. and Mrs. Ohm-chill were announced. 

If Mrs. Churchill had been the Empress of Austria or 
the Queen of the Cannibal Islands, she could not have 
entered the room more haughtily, or created a greater 
effect. She was dressed in a plain dark-gray silk, with a 
bunch of scarlet geraniums in her hair, and a black-lace 
shawl over her shoulders. Her little head was erect, her 
delicate nostrils distended, and her eye seemed to chal- 
lenge any unpleasant remark. Prank Churchill was, as 
usual, quiet and sedate; but it was evident he marked 
the impression which his wife made, and was pleased 
thereby. Was he pleased with the expression of her face, 
as he marked it contracted for an instant, though imme- 
diately afterwards the features resumed their calm statu- 
esque immobility? Was he pleased with the tone of her 
voice, which became a little hard and metallic, instead of 
that soft whispering which he knew as hers ? Barbara's 
trial was on her at that instant: she had returned to that 
society in which she had all her life lived; those luxuries, 
which had been in daily use, were around her, after she 
had been for weeks absent from them; the mere size of 
the rooms, the lighting, the perfume, the presence of 



182 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

guests, — all seemed to render the events of the past 
months as a dream; and she had to bring her presence 
of mind into play to argue with herself. 

Mrs. Schroder rushed up to her at once; no doubt of 
the em-pressement of her manner! affection a little too pal- 
pable, as Barbara thought. 

" Oh, Barbara darling! so glad you're come! I thought 
you'd disappointed us. How late you are!" 

" Frank was detained; as I expected, Alice; make him 
explain himself." 

" No occasion for that, I hope, Mrs. Schroder," said 
Churchill; "the slaves of the lamp, you know!" 

" Oh, there ! that horrible business ! your constant 
excuse; you're all alike. Gustav! Gustav! here's Mr. 
Churchill excusing himself from being late, and pleads 
business; take him away, and discuss the wretched sub- 
ject together. I want to talk to Barbara, — a long talk. 
No, Gustav! I don't care what you say about my duties 
as hostess: I ivill talk to my old friend!" So Schroder 
and Churchill went off, and Alice and Barbara seated 
themselves in a far window. 

" Xow, Barbara dear, tell me every thing. I needn't 
ask you if you're happy; that's a matter of course. Do 
you like your house? Is the boudoir in pale-green silk, 
as we always said we'd have it? Mine's in rose-colour; 
but that's Gustav's taste; I always liked your notion 
best." 

"My boudoir, Alice? you forget." 

" Oh, so I do. How ridiculous! But look here, Bar- 
bara darling; you'll come out for a drive with me when- 
ever I fetch you?" 

" Oh, thanks, Alice ; I'm too far out of your way to 
be fetched often." 

" Not a bit, Barbara; what else have the horses to do? 
though it is a difficult place to find out. Edwards — the 
coachman, I mean — had never heard of it, though he 
knows all sorts of short cuts; and we had to ask our way 
perpetually." 

Barbara had something on the tip of her tongue, but 



THK SCHKoDEUS AT HOMK. 183 

it was never framed into words. She contented herself 
with saying, "the situation is handy for my husband, you 
know. I should not like the thought that he had far to 
come late at night." 

"Oh! is he ever out late at night? How dreadful! 
how dull you must be ! how wretched for you! I should 
make my maid sit up and read me to sleep." 

" There has been no need for any such violent mea- 
sures at present," said Barbara, with a slight smile. 
" Frank has managed to do his work at home, hitherto; 
but of course there may be occasions when he will be 
obliged to be out." 

"You must come to us then. Promise! won't you, 
Barbara dear? You'll like Mr. Schroder; at least I think 
you will. He's very quiet ; but so kind-hearted and 
thoughtful. Oh, Captain Lyster! how you startled me!" 

" Very sorry, Mrs. Schroder," drawled the Captain, 
creeping leisurely towards them ; " wouldn't have put 
you out for the world; but this is scarcely fair, you know; 
two ladies monopolising each other when we're dying to 
talk to them ; and we're left to listen to that horrible hir- 
sute wretch who's thumping the piano." 

" Klavierspieler a horrible wretch! Did you hear 
that, Barbara? Well, Captain Lyster, I won't monopo- 
lise Mrs. Churchill any more, and you shall have a chat 
with her;" and Mrs. Schroder walked off, laughing. Bar- 
bara had been looking at Mr. Schroder, who was stand- 
ing in the doorway talking with Frank Churchill; and 
had noticed his face fall as Lyster approached them. 
When Mrs. Schroder moved away, her husband seemed 
relieved. 

Captain Lyster sat down by Barbara, and talked long, 
and for him earnestly. She saw at once that he wanted 
to be numbered among her friends; and in a score of 
little delicate sentences he conveyed to her his apprecia- 
tion of her conduct in marrying a man whom she loved, 
in spite of the opposition of her friends, his respect for 
her husband's character and talents, and his desire to 
serve them. Then he turned the conversation upon Mrs. 



184 BROKEN TO HAEXESS. 

Schroder; and Barbara noticed that his manner changed; 
that he hesitated, and kept his eyes down, as he won- 
dered whether she were happy; whether she loved her 
husband; Avhether it had really been her duty to obey 
her father's will, and not consult her own inclinations, as 
people said had been the case. For the first time a light 
broke upon Barbara, and she knew Captain Lyster's story 
as plainly as if he had told it to her in so many words. 
Following his glance as he stopped speaking, she saw 
that it rested on Alice Schroder, to whom Mr. Beresford 
was now talking, bending over her chair with great appa- 
rent devotion; and looking from them to Mr. Schroder, 
Barbara remarked that the gloom had returned to his 
face, while Frank Churchill himself looked somewhat 
annoyed. 

It was not without a very great deal of trouble that 
Mr. Pringle had induced his friend Prescott to accom- 
pany him to Saxe-Coburg Square. Even after that gen- 
tleman had given a reluctant consent he withdrew it, and 
on the very morning of the reception Mr. Pringle was 
not aware whether or not he should have to go alone. 
For Mr. Prescott was very much in love with Kate Mel- 
lon still: that interview in the Park had by no means 
had the effect of curing him of his passion; although, 
being a sensible young fellow, he saw that there was not 
the slightest use in giving way to it. 

"He's a thoroughly changed buffer, is Jim, sir!" 
Mr. Pringle would remark of him; "he used to be the 
cheeriest of birds; always good for going out some where, 
and no end of fun; always in tip-top spirits, and the best 
chap out. But now he sits in his chambers, and smokes 
his pipe, and grizzles himself to death, pretty near; wish- 
ing he'd got more money, and all sorts of things. That 
won't do, you know! He must be picked up and trotted 
out; and the man for that line of business is yours truly." 
In pursuance of Avhich determination Mr. Pringle opened 
a system of attack on his friend, and in the first place 
insisted that they should go together to Mr. Schroder's 
reception. Even at the last, when Prescott gave, in his 



THE SCHltoDEKS AT HOME. 1 S5 

final consent, it was under strong protest. " I shall be 
dreary, old boy; and you'll be sorry you took me. You 
know I'm not very good company just now, George. I've 
not got over — •" 

"All right; I know. 'Tell me, my heart, can this 
be ?' &c. But we'll have some dinner at Simpson's, and 
a bottle of old port ; and that'll set you up, and make 
you see life under a different aspect, as they say in 
novels." 

The dinner was very good; and finding his friend 
still silent and low-spirited, Mr. Pringle exerted himself 
to rouse him. He was very well known at the dining- 
rooms, and called the waiters by their Christian names, 
and asked after their families, and little events in their 
private lives. 

Mr. Prescott could not help laughing at the ab- 
surdities perpetrated by his friend, and gradually his 
spirits revived. After dinner they went to Mr. Pringle's 
chambers, and smoked and had some hot whisky-and- 
water, which, coming after the port-wine, had a very 
hilarious effect upon Mr. Pringle, who then wanted to 
" go out some where," and not to go to the Schroders at 
all ; but Mr. Prescott overruling this, they dressed and 
went. Mr. Pringle — and especially Mr. Pringle after 
half a bottle of port-wine and a couple of tumblers of 
whisky-punch — was a trying person to go about with, 
and Prescott had to call him to order several times. 
"When they arrived at the house, and were asked their 
names, he gave them as the Duke of Wellington and 
Mr. Babbage; and on the servant's being about gravely 
to repeat them, he stopped him, saying they did not wish 
their names announced, as they were detectives come on 
very private business. On the staircase he feigned a 
wild terror at the powdered heads of the footmen; asked 
"how they came so white;" by nature or not? and alto- 
gether so behaved himself, that Mr. Prescott declared he 
would not enter the room with him. 

Once in the room, Mr. Pringle toned down visibly, 
and conducted himself like an ordinary mortal. He was 



186 BEOICEX TO HA11XESS. 

very friendly with Alice Schroder, and expressed poignant 
regret at Mr. Townsliend's sudden indisposition (for that 
worthy gentleman declined to come upstairs after dinner; 
Beresford's mention of Pigott and Wells had been too 
much for him), though secretly Mr. Prrngle was pleased 
at missing his godfather, whom he was accustomed to 
regard as the essence of sternness; and he was intro- 
duced to Churchill, of whom he spoke the next day at 
the office as a "deuced clever fellow, a literary bird;" 
and he listened for a few minutes to Klavierspieler's 
pianoforte-fireworks; and then went down and got some 
refreshment. He endeavoured to induce Mr. Prescott to 
accompany him; but that gentleman not merely abso- 
lutely declined, but addressed his friend in strong words 
of warning, and declared that as for himself he was 
thoroughly happy where he was. 

Indeed, once more in society, surrounded by well- 
looking, well-dressed people, listening to music and con- 
versation in a splendidly-appointed house, Mr. Prescott 
began to think to himself that the solitary pipe-smokings 
in dreary chambers, the shutting himself away from the 
world, and giving himself up to melancholy, was rather 
a mistake. Of course the grand cause of it all remained 
unaltered, — he never could get over his passion, he never 
would give up thinking of Kate, — and just then he started 
as he heard a light, musical, girlish voice behind him say, 
"It is James Prescott!" He turned rapidly round, and 
saw two or three people standing by him; one of whom, 
a very pretty, fresh-coloured buxom girl, stepped for- 
ward, laughed as he made a rather distant bow, and said, 
" You don't recollect me! Oh, what a horridly bad com- 
pliment!" 

" It is excessively absurd, to be sure, on my part, I 
know. I cannot, by Jove! Emily Murray!" Prescott 
burst out as the face recurred to his memory. 

"Emily Murray, of course!" said the young lady, still 
laughing; "Why, what ages since we've met! not since 
you left Havering; and how's the dear Vicar and the 
girls? which of them are married? I should so like to 



Tin; pcimdDERS at home. 187 

eee them; and you — you're in some Government Office 
we heard; which is it? and — " 

" I must come to Mr. Prescott's rescue, Emily, if 
you'll introduce me. You've stunned him with ques- 
tions," said an elderly lady standing by. 

" Oh, aunt, how can you say so ! James — Mr. Pres- 
cott, — I don't know which I ought to say; but I always 
used to say James, — this is my aunt, Mrs. Wilmslow, 
with whom we're staying. I say we, for papa is in town ; 
but his gout was threatening; so he wouldn't come to- 
night." 

" My brother will be very pleased to see you, though, 
Mr. Prescott," said Mrs. Wilmslow; " I know he has the 
kindliest recollection of your father at Havering. "Will 
you come and lunch with us to-morrow?" 

Mr. Prescott accepted with thanks, and Mrs. Wilms- 
low moved back to her party; but Emily Murray stayed 
behind, and they had a very long conversation; during 
which he settled not merely that he would lunch in 
Portland Place on the next day, but that he would after- 
wards accompany Miss Murray and some of her friends 
in their subsequent ride. As Miss Murray departed 
with her friends, Mr. Pringle came up and apologised 
for having left his friend so much alone. " Very sorry, 
old fellow, but I got into an argument with an old 
German buffer downstairs. Very good fellow, but spoke 
very shy English. Told me he was nearly eighty years 
old; and that he accounted for his good health by having 
been always in the habit of taking a walk past dinner. 
Took me full ten minutes to find out he meant after 
dinner. But I say, old fellow, I'm really sorry; you 
must have had a very slow evening." 

" On the contrary," said Mr. Prescott, " I've enjoyed 
myself amazingly." 

Mr. Pringle looked hard at his friend, and whistled 
plaintively. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE OLD OR THE KEW ? 

Thirty years before the date of my story, Braxton 
Murray and Alan Prescott were college friends. Brax- 
ton was a gentleman commoner of Christchurch ; Alan, 
a scholar of Wadham. Braxton had four hundred a-year 
allowance from his father, and the direct succession to 
one of the richest estates in Kent. Alan had his scholar- 
ship, seventy pounds a-year exhibition from a country 
foundation-school, and another fifty allowed him by his 
uncle. The disparity between the positions of the two 
young men was vast, but they were thoroughly attached 
to each other ; and when Braxton had succeeded his 
father, and the old vicar of Havering died, Braxton 
Murray sent for Alan Prescott, then doing duty as a 
curate and usher in a suburban school, and presented 
him with the vicarage of Havering. That was a happy 
time in both then lives; the income of the Vicar was 
small, certainly, but so was the parish, and the duties 
were light; and having only himself, his wife, and a son 
and daughter to provide for, and being constantly in the 
receipt of presents from his friend and patron, the Rev. 
Alan Prescott did very well indeed. Situate in the heart 
of Kent, no prettier spot than Havering can be found; 
and Brooklands, the squire's place, is the gem of the 
county. In the bay-window of the old dining-room, 
overhanging the fertile valley through which the Med- 
way lies like a thread of silver, the two men would sit 
drinking their claret, discussing old university chums or 
topics of the day, and pausing occasionally to look at the 
gambols of the Vicar's son, Jim, and the Squire's only 



THE OLD OR THE NEW? 189 

daughter, Emily, who were the merriest of little lovers. 
But as years went by, and the Vicar's family steadily in- 
creased, — first by twin girls, then by a bouncing boy, 
and finally by a little crippled girl, — -and as, each year, 
expenses grew heavier, Alan Prescott was somewhat put 
to it to obtain the necessary connexion of those two ends, 
the means of bringing which together puzzles so many 
of us all our lives ; and when the governors of the 
foundation-school where he had been usher, remember- 
ing his abilities, wrote to offer him the vacant head- 
mastership, he was too poor to refuse it. Duffborough, 
a big, staring, gaunt, manufacturing town, perched on 
one of the bleakest of the northern hills, was a bad ex- 
change for beaming little Havering, with its smiling 
orchards and glorious hop-gardens ; and the society of 
the purse-proud, cold, stuck-up calico-men was heart- 
breaking after the ease and warmth of Braxton Murray's 
companionship. But Alan Prescott felt the spurs of 
need, and buckled to his work like a man. An active 
correspondence was kept up between him and the Squire 
of Havering; and occasionally, — once in the course of 
four or five years, perhaps, — he had spent a week at 
Brooklands; but it was too expensive to remove his 
family; and consequently, until that evening in Saxe- 
Coburg Square, James Prescott had not seen Emily 
Murray since they were children together, playing out in 
the old dining-room at Brooklands. 

Emily Murray had been a pretty child; had become 
a beautiful girl. There was no doubt about her ; one 
look into those honest brown eyes would have convinced 
you that she was thorough. A plump rosy-rounded bud 
of woman; a thoroughly English girl, void of affectation, 
conceit, and trickery; clean, clear, honest, wholesome, 
and loving. As she talked to James Prescott of the 
old days at Havering, she spoke out freely, referring to 
bygone gambols and fun Avith frank laughter and many 
a, humorous reminiscence ; and when she suggested his 
joining their riding-party the next day, she looked him 
straight in the face without the smallest shadow of en- 



190 BROKEX TO HARNESS. 

tanglement or guile. To her own brother her manner 
had not been different, Prescott thought, as, after they 
had parted, he recalled every word, every glance; and he 
wished for a moment that there had been something dif- 
ferent in it, a trifle more tenderness, a hand-pressure, a 
sly upward glance, or — and then he flung such nonsense 
behind him, and was delighted to remember the warmth 
of her recognition, the cheeriness of her chat. She was 
nothing to him, of course; his doom was fixed; he had 
loved, and — and yet how pretty she was ! how perfectly 
gloved! how charmingly dressed! what a pleasure it was 
to feel that you were talking to a lady! to know that no 
slanginess would offend the eye, no questionable argot 
grate upon the ear; to feel that — and then Mr. Prescott 
remembered how the idol of his soul had called him 
"Jim," ay, and " old buffer;" how she had smoked cigars, 
and used maledictions towards refractory animals; how 
there had been all kinds of odd discussions about all 
kinds of odd people before her ; and how he had seen 
men take wine without stint, and smoke cigars in her 
face, and wear then hats before her, without the smallest 
self-restraint. And, smoking a final pipe before turning 
into bed, Mr. Prescott pondered on these things long and 
earnestly. 

Mr. Prescott found a warm welcome awaiting him. 
Mrs. Wilmslow had been impressed with his manners 
and appearance, and old Mr. Murray had a yearning for 
the friend of his youth, and longed to receive that friend's 
son with open arms. A hale pleasant gentleman, Mr. Mur- 
ray, with that wonderful cleanliness which is never seen 
out of England, with polished bald head fringed with 
iron-gray hair, ruddy complexion, keen little blue eyes, 
and brilliant teeth. He wore a slipper on his right foot, 
but hobbled forward, nevertheless, and gave the young 
man a hearty shake of the hand. 

" Glad to see you, Jim! Little Jim you were; but, 
by Jove! I should not like to carry you on my back now, 
as I have done many a time. Very glad to see you! Old 



THE OLD OR, THE XEW ? 191 

times come again, by George ! Trace every feature of 
your face, and can almost see Magdalen tower behind 
your back— you're so like your father. How's the Vicar, 
eh? I'll drag him out of that infernal spinning- jenny 
place yet, and give him a breather across the home-copse 
at Havering before next season's over." 

Prescott said that his father was well and jolly, but 
scarcely up to shooting now, he had had so little practice 
lately. 

" So much the more reason we should give it him, 
then! He used to be a crack shot; one of the few men 
I've seen shoot a brace of woodcock right and left! And 
walk ! by George, he'd walk me into — has he had any 
gout?" 

" Not yet, sir; — a threatening last year." 

" Bravo!" roared the old gentleman; " I've got some 
20-port that shall bring that threatening to real effect, 
if he'll only drink enough of it. And to think that Pussy 
should have found you out!" 

" Pussy?" said Mr. Prescott. 

" Emily, of course ! a wayward gentle puss who never 
shows her claws!" and at that moment Emily entered the 
room, and advanced towards Prescott with frank smile 
and outstretched hand. 

Luncheon passed off pleasantly enough. The old 
gentleman rattled on incessantly, and availed himself 
of Prescott's presence, and Mrs. Wilmslow's distracted 
attention consequent thereupon, to take three bumpers 
of dry sherry, instead of that one half-glass to which, by 
doctor's orders, he was so strictly relegated. Mrs. Wilms- 
low was thoroughly charmed with Prescott, led him on 
to talk of his home-life, of his office friends, and seemed 
to regard him with real interest. Emily was less talka- 
tive than she had been the previous evening, and seldom 
looked up from the table; but she joined readily in the 
conversation, and none were too pleased when the horses 
were announced. 

" Got a horse, Jim ?" asked the Squire. " That's 
right ! hope it'll carry you all right, though one never 



192 BEOKBN TO HARNESS. 

knows any thing about these hired hacks. You might 
have ridden the cob, if I'd known you'd been coming 
earlier! This is his third day's rest, and the cob will 
be about as fresh as paint when I get across him again. 
Not that I care much for your Rotten-Bow riding — dull 
work that, up and down, up and down! The Vicar and 
I — we used to go to work in a little more business-like 
fashion than that! I suppose he never gets a day's run 
now? Ah! thought not! Those spinning- jenny locals 
would think it unprofessional for a parson to follow 
hounds, eh? There, bless you, pussy! good-by, child! 
and good-by to you, young Jim! Call here again in 
a day or two, and we'll settle about your coming to 
Havering in the vacation — and the Vicar too, d'ye hear?" 

" I'm getting rather nervous about my responsibility, 
Miss Murray," said Prescott, as they passed through into 
the hall. " I don't think I've forgotten my old knack of 
mounting. You needn't fear my not lifting you high 
enough, or jerking you over the side, I mean; but I've 
never seen your amazonship yet, and if any thing should 
happen — '' 

" Oh, don't fear that, James — Mr. Prescott, I mean!" 
said Emily with a clear ringing laugh. " You'll mount 
me rightly enough, I know: and as for looking after me 
afterwards, I forgot to tell you my riding-mistress would 
be with us." 

" Your riding-mistress !" but as he spoke, the foot- 
man threw open the street-door; and the first thing that 
met his glance was a well-known figure sitting erect on a 
black thorough-bred. Kate Mellon! no one else. James 
Prescott had watched too often the rounded outline of 
that compact figure, the fall of that dark-blue skirt, the 
pose of that neat little chimney-pot hat, under which the 
gold-shot hair was massed in a clump behind, not to re- 
cognise them all at the first glance. Kate Mellon, by all 
that was marvellous! Two young ladies, also mounted, 
were with her; and a groom was leading another horse, 
with a side-saddle on it for Emily Murray, and another 
groom was leading the very presentable hack which Pres- 



THE OLD OR THE NEW? 193 

cott had engaged from Allen's. As she caught sight of 
Prescott, Kate gave one little scarcely-perceptible start, 
and then saluted Miss Murray with uplifted whip. Pres- 
cott swung Emily to her saddle, and the cavalcade started. 

"You see I have brought a cavalier, Miss Mellon," 
said Emily, with a smile ; " though I don't know whether 
such an encumbrance is permissible; but this is Mr. Pres- 
cott, whom I have known for a very long time. James, 
this is Miss Mellon, who is good enough to superintend 
my clumsiness on horseback, and who is the very star of 
horsewomen herself." 

Kate started a little at the " James," but merely re- 
peated the whip salutation, and said, " Mr. Prescott and 
I have met before, Miss Murray. Besides, you're coming 
it too strong about yourself! you're quite able to take 
care of yourself now, and have no clumsiness left, what- 
ever you might have had at first. This has relieved me 
of some of my charge ; for these two young ladies will 
want all my eyes, and another to spare, if I had it. Per- 
haps you'll not mind my riding forward with them, and 
you and Mr. Prescott can follow us ; you're both of you 
to be trusted — with your horses, I mean!" and she smiled 
shortly, and cantering on, joined the anonymous young 
ladies in front. 

You see it is perfectly right to tell a man who is des- 
perately smitten with you that he is on the wrong tack; 
that though you have a great regard for him as a friend, 
you cannot reciprocate his love-passion; and that the 
whole affair is ill-judged, and should properly be put a 
stop to at once. But when you come upon him suddenly, 
within three weeks, evidently consoling himself by dang- 
ling at the heels of another woman — well, there is some- 
thing provoking in it, to say the least! Kate Mellon was 
thoroughly honest during all that last interview with 
Prescott in Rotten Row, but she scarcely expected this. 

So they rode on in two divisions ; and the young 
ladies in front, who were the daughters of a picture-dealer 
who had recently risen from nothing, and who were in 
the greatest state of fright at the unaccustomed exercise, 





194 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

were surprised to find a tone of asperity at first tinging 
their mistress's instructions at being told of their rounded 
shoulders and their heavy hands, in far plainer terms 
than had been hitherto employed. But this severity gra- 
dually subsided as they went on, and as Kate thought 
to herself how all was for the best, and how, instead of 
being annoyed, she ought to do every thing she could to 
help the fortunes of one who had been so stanchly gal- 
lant to her, until he was repulsed. As for the couple be- 
hind, they got on splendidly; Emily looked to the greatest 
advantage on horseback; and Prescott could scarcely take 
his eyes from her as he watched the graceful manner in 
which she sat her horse, and as he listened to the en- 
comiastic remarks which her appearance extracted from 
the passers-by. He talked to her of the old days, and 
she answered without an ounce of coquetry or affecta- 
tion ; and she spoke of her father, of her happiness in 
her home, of the little simple duties and pleasures in 
their village, and of other little such-like matters, in an 
honest way that touched James Prescott deeply, and sent 
piu'er, calmer thoughts into his heart than had found 
lodging there for many months. 

After a couple of hours in the Eow the party returned 
to Mrs. Wilmslow's, where Emily bade them farewell, and 
Prescott also alighted, giving up his horse to the groom 
waiting for it. Kate Mellon saw her other pupils to their 
home close by, and then turned into the Eow again, in- 
tending to have one final gallop on her way to The Den. 
She was at full speed when she heard the dull thud of 
a horse's hoofs close behind her, and turning saw Mr. 
Simnel. In a minute he was by her side. 

" How d'ye do, Kate ?" said he, reining-in his big 
hunter; " I came on the chance of seeing you here." 

" How do, Simnel?" said Miss Mellon, shortly; " what 
do you want?" 

" I want you to say when I can come up to The Den 
and have half-an-hour's chat with you, Kate." 

" And I tell you, never ! as I've told you before. 
Look here, Simnel," said she, pulling up short; "let's 



THE OLD OK THE NKAV? 195 

have this out now. I don't like you; I never did, and 
I never shall! aud I don't want you at my place. Do 
you understand?" 

" Perfectly," said Simnel, with a hard smile ; " and 
yet I think I must come. I want to say something 
specially particular to you." 

"What about? What you've said before? About 
yourself?" 

"No," said Simnel, smiling as before; "I never say 
things twice over. I want to talk to you about a friend 
of ours — Charles Beresford." 

" Charles Beresford? — what of him?" 

" That's just what I propose to come and tell you." 

Their eyes met. The next instant Kate cast hers 
down as she said, " I shall be at home on Friday from 
two till six. You can come then." 

"You may depend on me," said Simnel; "I'll not 
bore you any longer." He raised his hat with perfect 
politeness, turned his horse, and rode slowly away. 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE CHURCHILLS AT HOME. 

Three mouths' experience sufficiently indoctrinated Bar- 
bara Churchill into her new life. At the end of that 
time she could scarcely have been recognised as the Bar- 
bara Lexden ■who had held her own for three seasons, 
and done undisputed havoc among the detrimentals: not 
that she was changed in appearance; that grand hauteur, 
that indefinable something of delicacy, breeding, and re- 
finement, was even more noticeable than ever ; if any 
thing, her nostrils were more frequently expanded, her 
lips more constantly in their curve; nor had her eyes 
1 ost their brightness, her figure its trim form, her walk 
its grace and elegance. Though Parker had long since 
served under another mistress, Barbara's hair had never 
been more artistically arranged than by her own hands; 
and though her dress had been modified from the nearest 
approach to excess in the prevailing fashion which good 
taste would permit to the merest simplicity, she had 
never, even in the height of her queendom, been more 
becomingly attired than in the_ plain silk dresses and 
simple linen collars and cuffs which she donned in Great 
Adullam Street. Where was the change, then? whence 
the source of the alteration? In truth she herself could 
scarcely tell; or if the idea ever rose in her mind she 
thrust it out instantly, arguing within herself, in a thou- 
sand unimpressive, undecisive, unsatisfactory ways, that 
she did not feel as she had imagined, and that she was 
merely " a little low." 

That phrase was Frank Churchill's bane. He would 
return from the Statesman Office, where, after the regular 



THE CHURCHILLS AT HOME. 197 

daily consultation, he had remained and written his leader 
(Harding always hitherto had managed to free his friend 
from night-work), and would find his wife with red-rim- 
med eyelids and the final traces of a past shower. At 
first he was frightened at these manifestations, would 
tenderly caress her, and ask her what had happened, 
Nothing! always nothing! no cross, no domestic anxiety, 
no special trouble. But then something must have hap- 
pened. Frank's logical spirit, long trained, refused to 
accept an effect without a cause; and at length, after re- 
peated questioning, he would learn from Barbara that 
she was "a little low" that day. A little low! What on 
earth had she had to be a little low about? And then 
Frank would imagine that there were more things in 
women than were dreamt of in his philosophy; and would 
pet her and coax her during dinner, and restore her some- 
what to herself, until he took up his review or his heavy 
reading, when the "little low" fit would come on again; 
and after half an hour's contemplation of the coals Bar- 
bara would burst into sobs and retire to bed. And then 
Frank, laying down his book and pondering over his 
final pipe, would first begin to think that he was badly 
treated; to review his conduct, and see whether any act 
of his during the day could have caused the " little low- 
ness;" to imagine that Barbara was making mountains 
of molehills, and was losing that spirit which had been 
one great attraction to him; then gradually he would 
soften, would take into consideration the changes in the 
circumstances of her life ; would begin to accuse himself 
of neglecting her, and preferring his reading at a time 
when she had a fair claim on his attention; and would 
finally rush off to implore her forgiveness, and pet her 
more than ever. 

An infatuated fellow, this Frank Churchill; so happy 
in the possession of his wife, in the knowledge that she 
was his own, all his own, that nothing, not even the fact 
that she was occasionally a " little low," had power to 
damp his happiness for more than a very few minutes. 
He would sit at dinner of an evening, when she was en- 



198 BllOKEX TO HAUXESP. 

gaged with her work, and he had a book in front of him, 
in company, when he conld steal a minute from the 
general conversation, looking at her in rapt admira- 
tion; not one point of her beauty was lost upon him; 
the shape of her head; its^ose on her neck; her delicate 
hands with that pink shell-like palm; those long taper- 
ing fingers and filbert nails; her rounded bust and slim 
waist, — all her special excellences impressed him more 
now than they had when he had first seen her; but, 
above all, he revelled in her "bred" appearance, in that 
indefinable something which seemed to lift her com- 
pletely out of the set of people with which he saw her 
surrounded, and to show her by right the denizen. of 
another sphere. If you could have persuaded Frank 
Churchill that another man held such opinions as these; 
that another man had such feelings with regard to his 
wife; and that through holding them he was induced to 
regard somewhat intolerantly those among whom he had 
hitherto moved, and from whom he had received the 
greatest kindness and friendship, — what words would 
have been scathing enough to have expressed Frank 
Churchill's disgust! 

Yet such was undoubtedly the case. Churchill's most 
intimate friend was George Harding, — a man whom he 
reverenced and looked up to, but whom he, since his 
marriage, had often found himself pitying from the bot- 
tom of "his soul. Not on his own account: loyal to his 
craft and steadfast in his friendship, Churchill thought 
there were few more desirable positions than the editor- 
ship of the Statesman, when as free from influence or 
partisanship as when Harding held the berth. It was 
because his friend was Mrs. Harding's husband that 
Churchill pitied him; though, indeed, Mrs. Harding was 
a very fair average kind of woman. A dowdy little per- 
son, Mrs. Harding! the daughter of a snuffy Welsh rec- 
tor, who had written a treatise on " Aorists," and with 
whom Harding had read one long vacation, — a round- 
faced old-maidish little woman, classically brought up, 
who could construe Cicero fluently, and looked upon 



s 



THE CIIURCTITLLS AT HOME. 199 

Horace (Q. Flaccus, I mean) as rather a loose person- 
age. In the solitude of Plas-y-clwdllem, George Hard- 
ing was thrown into the society of this young female. 
He did not fall in love with her — they were neither of 
them capable of any thing violent of that nature ; but — I 
am reduced to the phraseology of the servants' hall to 
express my meaning — they "kept company together;" 
and when George took his degree and started in life as 
leader-writer for the Morning Cracker (long since defunct), 
he thought the best thing he could do for his comfort 
was to go for a run to Wales and bring back Sophia 
Evans as his wife. This he did; and they had lived tho- 
roughly happily ever since. Mrs. Harding believed in- 
tensely in the Statesman; read it every day, from the 
title to the printer's name; knew the name of every con- 
tributor, and could tell who had done what at a glance. 
Her great pride in going out was to take one of the cards 
sent to the office, and observe the effect it made upon the 
receiving attendant at operas, flower-shows, or conversa- 
zioni. She always took care that the tickets for these 
last were sent to her; and her head-dress of black-velvet 
bows with pearl-beads hanging down behind Avas well to 
the fore whenever a mummy was unrolled, the fossil jaw- 
bone of an antediluvian animal was descanted on, or some 
sallow missionary presented himself at Burlington House, 
to be congratulated by hundreds of dreary people on hav- 
ing escaped uneaten from some place to which he never 
ought to have gone. She herself was fond of having 
occasionally what she called " a social evening." This 
recreation was held on a Saturday, when there was no 
work at the Statesman office, when the principal members 
of the staff would be bidden, and when the condiments 
provided would be brown-bread and butter rolled into 
cornets, tea and coffee and lemonade, while the recreation 
consisted in conversation (amongst men who had met 
for every night during the past twelve months), and in 
examining photographs of the city of Prague. The ribald 
young men at the office spoke of Mrs. Harding as " Plu- 
tarch," a name given to her one night when Mr. Slater, 



200 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the dramatic critic, asked her what novel she was then 
reading, and she replied, "Novel, sir! Plutarch's Lives!" 
But they all liked her, notwithstanding; and for her sake 
and their dear old chief's did penitential duty at the 
occasional " social evenings" in Decorum Street. 

Of course this little body had nothing in common 
with Mrs. Frank Churchill, and neither understood the 
other. George Harding had been so anxious that his 
wife should pay all honour to his friend's bride, that 
Mrs. Harding's was the first visit Barbara received. 
They did not study the laws of etiquette in Mesopota- 
mia, or Mrs. Harding thought she would break the ice 
of ceremony with a friendly call ; so she arrived one 
morning at 11 a.m. dressed for the occasion, and having 
sent up her card, awaited Barbara's advent in the draw- 
ing-room. No sooner had the servant shut the door and 
Mrs. Harding found herself alone than she minutely 
examined the furniture, saw where new things had re- 
placed others with which she had been acquainted, men- 
tally appraised the new carpet, and took stock generally. 
The result Avas not satisfactory; an anti-macassar which 
Barbara had been braiding lay on the table, with the 
needle still in it. Mrs. Harding took it up between her 
finger and thumb, gazed at it contemptuously, and pro- 
nounced it "fal-lal;" she peeped into the leaves of a book 
lying open on the sofa, and shut them up with a sigh of 
"Novels! ah!" she turned over the music lying on the 
little cottage-piano which Frank had hired for his wife, 
and again shrugged her shoulders with an exclamation of 
distaste. Then she sat herself down on a low chair with 
her back to the light (an old campaigner, Mrs. Harding, 
and seldom to be taken at a disadvantage), pulled out 
and smoothed her dress all round her, settled her ribbons, 
made a further incursion into the territories of a refrac- 
tory thumb in her cowskin puce-coloured glove, which 
had hitherto refused submission to the invader, and 
awaited the coming of her hostess. 

She had not long to wait. Frank had gone out on 
business; but he had so often spoken of Harding as his 



THE CHUIIC1IILLS AT HOME. 201 

dear friend, tliafc Barbara, though by no means gushing 
by nature, — indeed, if truth must be told, somewhat 
proud and reserved, — had made up her mind to be spe- 
cially friendly to Mrs. Harding ; so she came sailing into 
the room with outstretched hand and a smile on her face. 
Mrs. Harding gave one glance at the full flowing figure, 
the rustling skirts, and the outstretched hand ; she 
acknowledged the superior presence, and then suddenly 
maxims learned in her youth in the still seclusion of 
Plas-y-dwdllem rose in her mind, — maxims which incul- 
cated a severe and uncompromising deportment as the 
very acme of good breeding. So, instead of coming for- 
ward to meet Barbara and responding to her apparent 
warmth, the little woman stood up for a quarter of a 
minute, crossed her hands before her, bowed, and sank 
into her seat again. For an instant Barbara stopped, 
and flushed to the roots of her hair; then, quickly per- 
ceiving it was merely ignorance which had caused this 
strange proceeding on Mrs. Harding's part, she advanced 
and seated herself near her visitor. 

" You are a stranger in this neighbourhood?" com- 
menced Mrs. Harding. 

Barbara, feeling that the admission would be what 
policemen call " used against her," answered in the affir- 
mative. 

" It's very healthy," said Mrs. Harding. 

Barbara again assented. 

" Do you like it?" asked Mrs. Harding. 

" I can scarcely say. I have had so little opportunity 
of judging. It is very convenient for where my husband 
has to go, and all that; but it is a long way from that 
part of London which I know." 

Two or three things in this innocently -intended 
speech jarred dreadfully on Mrs. Harding's feelings. 
That worthy matron had all the blood of Ap-somebody, 
a tremendously consonanted personage of Plas-y-dwdllem 
in old times, and she was irritable in the highest degree. 
But she made a great gulp at her rage, and only said, 
"Oh, you mean the Statesman office; yes, of course I 



202 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

ought to know where that is, considering Mr. Harding's 
position there! We think this a very nice situation; but, 
of course, when you've been brought up in Grosvenor 
Square, it's different! "What does Vokins charge you?" 

" I — I beg your pardon!" said Barbara. "Vokins?" 

"Yes; Yokins the butcher!" repeated the energetic 
little woman. " Sevenpence or sevenpence-halfpenny for 
legs? Your mother-in-law was the only woman in the 
neighbourhood who got 'em for sevenpence, and I'm most 
anxious to know whether he hasn't raised it since you 
came here." 

" I'm sorry I'm unable to answer you," said Barbara; 
" but hitherto my husband has paid the tradesmen's bills. 
iVe no doubt" she added, with a half-sneer, "that it 
shows great shortcomings on my part; but it is the fact. 
I have hopes that I shall improve as I go on." 

" Oh, no doubt," said Mrs. Harding, faintly. " Live 
and learn, you know." But she gave up Barbara Churchill 
from that time out. She, who had known the price of 
every article of domestic consumption since she was four- 
teen years old, and had fought innumerable hand-to-hand 
combats with extortionate tradesmen, looked upon this 
insouciance of Barbara's as any thing but a venial crime. 
A few other topics were started, feebly entered into, and 
dropped ; and then Mrs. Harding took her leave, with 
faintly-expressed hopes of seeing her new-made acquaint- 
ance soon again. 

That afternoon George Harding, returning home to 
dinner, was told by his wife that she had called on Mrs. 
Churchill. 

"Ay!" said the honest old boy; "and what did you 
make of her, Sophy? I'd trust your judgment in a thou- 
sand; and Frank has a high opinion of it, I know. Is 
she pretty, and clever, and managing, and all the rest 
of it?" 

" Well, as to prettiness, George, she's not one of my 
style of beauties," said Mrs. Harding. " She's a tall slip 
of a woman, with straight features, such as you see on 
the old coins; and she's very stand-offish in her manners; 



THE OHURCHILLS AT HOME. 203 

and, as to managing — well, she's too fine a lady to know 
her tradespeople's names, or -what she pays them." 

George Harding whistled softly, and then plunged 
into his hashed mutton. He made but one remark, but 
that he repeated twice. " I told him to beware of swells. 
God knows I warned him. I told him to beware of 
swells." 

That same night Mrs. Churchill told her husband of 
the visit she had had. 

"I'm so glad!" said Frank. "I knew old George 
would send his wife first. "Well, what do you think of 
Mrs. Harding, Barbara?" 

" Oh, I've no doubt she meant every thing kindly, 
Frank," said Barbara. " She's — she's a right-meaning 
kind of woman, Frank, no doubt; but she's — she's not 
my style, you know." 

Frank was dashed. " I don't exactly understand, 
dear. She was perfectly friendly ?" 

" Oh, perfectly ! But she asked me all sorts of curi- 
ous questions about the tradespeople, and the housekeep- 
ing, and that. So strange, ycu know." 

" I confess I don't see any thing strange so far. She 
offered you the benefit of her experience, did she ? Well, 
that was kind ; and what was wanted, I think." 

" Oh, I'm sorry you think it was wanted," said Bar- 
bara. " I didn't think any thing had gone wrong in the 
house." 

" No, my darling, of course not," said Frank ; " no- 
thing — all is quite right. But, you know, housekeeping 
is Mrs. Harding's strong point ; and young beginners 
like ourselves might learn from her with advantage. I 
think wc must lay ourselves out for instruction in several 
matters, Barbara darling, from such persons as Mrs. 
Harding and my mother." 

And Barbara said, " Oh, yes, of course." And Frank 
did not notice that her little shoulders went up, and the 
corners of her little mouth went clown, and her eyes 
sparkled in a manner which did not promise much doci- 
lity on the part of one of the pupils thus to be instructed. 



204 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

It took but a very short time for Barbara to discover 
that she and her mother-in-law were not likely to be the 
very best friends. On their first meeting the old lady 
was very much overcome, and welcomed her new daugh- 
ter-in-law in all fulness of heart. And perhaps — though 
Barbara never knew it — it was at this first meeting that 
a feeling of disappointment was engendered in Mrs. 
Churchill's heart. For long brooding over the forth- 
coming events of that day, ere the new-married couple 
had returned to town, Mrs. Churchill had settled in her 
own mind that there were to be no jealousies between her 
and the new importation into the small family circle as 
to the possession of Frank, and that to that end the right 
plan would be to receive Barbara as her daughter, and 
to make her part recipient of that affection which had 
hitherto only been lavished on Frank. This idea she 
forthwith carried into execution, kissing Barbara with 
great warmth, and addressing her as her dear child. Un- 
impulsive Barbara, though really pleased at her reception, 
accepted the caresses with becoming dignity, offered her 
cheek for the old lady's warm salute, and addressed her 
mother-in-law in tones which, though by no means lack- 
ing in reverence, certainly had no superfluity of love. 
The old lady noticed it, and ascribed it to timidity, or 
the natural shyness of a young girl in a strange position; 
she noticed specially that Barbai'a invariably spoke to 
and of her as " Mrs. Churchill ;" and before they parted 
she said : 

" My dear, you surely don't always intend to speak to 
me in that formal manner. I am your mother now, 
Barbara ; won't you call me so?" 

" No, dear Mrs. Churchill — no, if you please ! I have 
never called any one by that name since I lost my own 
mother, and — and I cannot do so, indeed." 

Mrs. Churchill simply said, "Very well, my dear." 
But in what afterwards became a gaping wound, this may 
be looked upon as the first abrasion of the skin. That 
gave the old lady a notion that her daughter-in-law's tac- 
tics were to be purely defensive, that there was to be no 



THE CHURCHILLS AT HOME. 205 

compromise, and that she, the old lady, was clearly to 
understand that her position was on the other side of the 
gabions and the fascines, the stone walls and the broad 
moat ; that by no means was the key of the citadel to be 
considered as in her possession. 

When relations of this kind in one family begin to be 
a tort et d, travers, there is no end to the horrible com- 
plications arising out of them. Mrs. Churchill attempted 
to initiate Barbara into the mysteries of housekeeping, 
and the art of successfully combating nefarious trades- 
men ; but the success which attended the old lady's 
efforts may be guessed from Barbara's interview with 
Mrs. Harding. She tried to get Barbara to walk out 
with her ; but Barbara had not been accustomed to walk 
in London streets, and was timid at crossings, — which 
made the old lady irate ; and was frightened at the way 
in which men stared, and on some occasions spoke out 
unreservedly their opinions of her beauty. She had liked 
the outspoken admiration of the crowd, as she sat well 
forward in the carriage on drawing-room days ; but then 
she knew that she had Jeames with his long cane in re- 
serve in case of need ; though I doubt whether Jeames 
would have been more useful in case of actual attack 
than old Mrs. Churchill, who invariably resented these 
unsolicited compliments to her daughter-in-law with a 
snort of defiance, and who usually carried a stout um- 
brella with a ferule at the end, which would have made a 
very awkward weapon, and which she would have wielded 
with right goodwill. Misunderstandings were constant: 
after the first few occasions of their meeting, Barbara did 
not ask Mrs. Churchill to the house for fear of appearing 
formal ; whereupon the old lady, when Frank called at 
her lodgings, asked what she had done to be exiled from 
her son's house. Pacified and settled as to this point, 
the old lady, to show her forgiveness, called in so fre- 
quently, that Barbara told her husband she knew her 
housekeeping was not perfection ; but that she had not 
expected a system of espionnaf/e, which was evidently 
kept on her by his mother. When Mrs. Churchill dined 



206 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

at their house, Barbara, for fear of appearing extravagant, 
would have a very simple joint and pudding ; whereupon 
the old lady would afterwards tell Mrs. Harding, or some 
other friend, that " Heaven alone knew where Frank's 
money went— not on then" dinners, my dear, for they're 
positively mean." 

Nor with her husband's friends did Barbara make a 
very favom^able impression. They admired her, of course ; 
to withhold that tribute was impossible ; but they were 
so utterly different in manner and expression, had such 
different topics of conversation and such totally opposite 
opinions to any thing she had ever seen or heard, that 
she sat in silence before them ; uttered vague and irra- 
tional replies to questions put to her while her thoughts 
were far away, smiled feebly at wrong times, and so con- 
ducted herself, that Mr. M'Malthus, a clever Scotchman, 
who was worming his way into literature, and was at that 
time getting a name for blunt offensive sayings (an easily- 
earned capital, on which many a man has lived for years), 
was reported to have remarked that " a prettier woman or 
a bigger fool than Mrs. Churchill was not often seen." 

There were others who, while they allowed that she 
had plenty of common-sense (and indeed on occasion, in 
a cut-and-thrust argument, Barbara showed herself cun- 
ning of fence, and by no means deficient in repartee), 
would call her stuck-up and proud ; and there were some, 
indeed, who repudiated the mere fact of her having lived 
in a different class of society to which they were not 
admitted, as in itself an insult and a shame. And even 
those who were disposed to soften all defects and to ex- 
aggerate all virtues — and they were by no means few in 
number — failed to what they call " get on" with the new 
Mrs. Churchill. They had no subjects of conversation 
in common ; for even when literary subjects were intro- 
duced, they frightened Barbara by their iconoclastic ten- 
dencies ; deliberately smashing up all those gods whom 
she had hitherto been accustomed to reverence, and 
erecting in their stead images inscribed with names un- 
known to her, or known but to be shuddered at as owned 



THE CHURC'HILLS AT HOME. 207 

als or free-thinkers. They were men who out- 
raged none of the social convenances of life ; about whose 
manner or behaviour no direct complaint could be made; 
and often she thought herself somewhat exacting when 
she would repeat to herself, as she would — oh, how often! 
— that they were not gentlemen: not her style of gentle- 
men ; that is to say, not the style of men to whom she 
had been accustomed. When, for instance, would a man 
have dared to address his conversation to any other man 
in preference to her, she being present ? When could a 
man have permitted her to open a door, or place a chair 
for herself, in that set amongst which she had previously 
moved ? Respect her ! Her husband's friends would 
ignore her presence ; saying in reply to a remark from 
her, " Look here, Churchill, you understand this ;" or 
would prevent her interrupting them (a favourite practice 
of hers) by putting up their hands and saying, " Pardon 
me while I state my case," continue their argument in 
the most dogged manner. 

What most amazed Barbara was the calm manner in 
which all her sallies, however bitter or savage, were re- 
ceived by her husband's intimates, and laughed away or 
glossed over by Frank himself. At first her notion was 
to put down these persons by a calm haughty superiority 
or a studied reticence, which should in itself have the 
effect of showing her opinion of them: but neither de- 
meanour had the smallest effect on those whom it was 
intended to reprove. The first time she ever perceived 
that any one was the least degree inclined to oppose her 
sway or dispute her authority, was one Saturday night, 
when Churchill's study was filled with several of his old 
friends, smoking and chatting. Barbara was there too, 
with her embroidery. She could stand tobacco-smoke 
perfectly; it did not give her a headache, or even worse 
than that, redden her eyelids and make her wink; and 
there was a small amount of "fastness" in it which pleased 
her. Moreover her presence prevented the gathering in 
the talir/q/e from quite sinking into a bachelor revel, the 
which Barbara, as a young married woman, held in the 



208 BITOKEN TO HAENESS. 

deepest abomination. The conversation was in full swing 
about books, authors, and publishers. 

" Chester's going to bring out a volume of poems," 
said Mr. Bloss, an amiable young man with fluffy hair, 
who always had a good word for every one. ' : Says he 
should have published them before, but he's so many 
irons in the fire." 

" Better put his poems where his irons are," laughed 
Mr. Dunster, a merry little old gentleman with light-blue 
eyes, who could take the skin off your back and plant 
daggers in your heart, smiling all the time in the plea- 
santest manner. " Chester's next door to an idiot ; lives 
close by you, by the way, Bloss, doesn't he?" 

All the men laughed; and even Barbara, after a look 
of amazement, could not help smiling. 

" He's dreadfully frightened of the critics," said 
another man sitting by. "You must notice him in 
the Statesman yourself, Churchill, eh?" 

" Or I'll speak to Harding. Poor Chester! he mustn't 
be allowed to come to grief. What are his verses like? 
has any one seen them?" 

" I have," said Mr. Bloss. '• They're really — they're 
— well — they're not so very bad, you know." 

"What a burst of candour!" said Mr. Dunster. 
"Bloss, you are a young reviewer, and I must caution 
you against such excessively strong statements." 

" Chester's most afraid of the Scourge" said the man 
who had spoken before; "he thinks it will flay him." 

" He should mollify them by saying that his verses 
were written ' at an early age,' " laughed Churchill. 

" That wouldn't do for the Scourge; they would say 
the verses were too bad even to have been written by a 
child in arms," said Mr. Dunster. 

" How very nice! What an old dear you are, Dun- 
ster!" said a gentleman sitting in a corner of the fireplace 
exactly opposite Barbara, with his legs stretched out on 
a stool, and his body reclining on an easy-chair. This 
was Mr. Lacy, an artist, who, as it was, made a very good 
income, but who might have taken the highest rank had 



THE CHURCHILLS AT HOME. 209 

his perseverance been on a par with his talent; a sleepy, 
dreamy man, with an intense appreciation of and regard 
for himself. 

" What do you think of all this, Mrs. Churchill ?" 
asked Bloss; "they are any thing but compassionate in 
their remarks." 

" They may be or not," said Barbara, wearily. " It 
is all Greek to me : while these gentlemen talk what I 
believe is called ' shop,' I am utterly unable to follow the 
conversation." 

Frank looked uneasily across at his wife, but said 
nothing. 

" What shall we talk about, Mrs. Churchill?" said Mr. 
Dunster, with an evil twinkle of his blue eyes. " Shall 
it be the last ball in the Belgravia, or the newjupe; how 
Mario sang in the Prophete, or whether bonnets will be 
worn on or off the head?" 

Churchill frowned at this remark, but his brow cleared 
as Barbara said with curling lip: 

" You need not go so far for illustrations of what you 
don't understand, Mr. Dunster. Let us discuss tolerance, 
domestic enjoyments, or the pleasure of being liked by 
any one, — all of which are, I am sure, equally strange to 
you." 

Mr. Dunster winced, and the fire faded out of his 
blue eyes: he did not understand being bearded. Frank 
Churchill, though astonished at seeing his wife defiant, 
was by no means displeased. Old Mr. Lacy, fearing a 
storm, which would have ruffled him sadly, struck in at 
once: 

" It's a mistake, my dear Churchill ; I'm convinced 
of it. We're not fit for these charming creatures, we 
artists and writers, believe me. We're a deucedly irri- 
table, growling, horrible set of ruffians, who ought to be 
left, like a lot of Robinson Crusoes, each on a separate 
island. I can fully enter into Mrs. Churchill's feelings; 
and I've no doubt that Mrs. Lacy feels exactly the same. 
But what do I do? I'm compelled to shut the door in 
Mrs. Lacy's face — to lock Mrs. Lacy out. She's a most 

p 



210 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

excellent woman, as yon know, Churchill; but she always 
wants to talk to me when I ought to be at work; now, 
on a sky-day, for instance! There are very few days in 
the year in this detestable climate, my dear Mrs. Chur- 
chill, which permit of one's seeing the sky sufficiently to 
paint it. When such a day does happen, I go to my 
studio and lock the door; but I've scarcely set my pa- 
lette, before they come and rap, and want to talk to me 
— to ask me about the butcher, or to tell me about the 
nurse's sister, or something; and I'm obliged to whistle 
or sing to prevent my hearing 'em, or I should get in- 
terested about the nurse's sister, and open the door, and 
then my day's work would be spoilt." 

"You're right, Lacy," said Dunster: "men who've 
got work to do should remain single. They'll never — " 

" Come, you're polite to my wife," said Frank. " This 
is flat blasphemy against the state into which we've just 
entered." 

" Oh, pray don't let the conversation, evidently so 
genial, be stopped on my account. I'm tired, and am 
just going;" and with a sweeping bow Barbara sailed out 
of the room. 

An hour afterwards, when Frank looked in from his 
dressing-room, he saw in the dim light Barbara's hair 
streaming over the pillow, and going to her found traces 
of tears on her cheeks. Tenderly and eagerly he asked 
her what had happened. 

" Oh, Frank, Frank!" she exclaimed, bursting into 
fresh sobs; "I see it all now! What those horrid men 
said is too true ! We were worse than mad to marry. 
Your friends will never understand me, while I shall in- 
terfere with your work and your pleasure; and, oh! I am 
so very, very miserable myself!" 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE FLYBYNIGHTS. 

To such of womankind as knew of its existence there 
were few places in London so thoroughly unpopular as 
the Flybynights Club. And yet it was an unpretending 
little room, boasting none of the luxury of decoration 
generally associated in the female mind with notions of 
club-life, and offering no inducement for membership 
save that it was open at very abnormal hours, and that 
it was very select. The necessary qualification for can- 
didature was that you should be somebody; no matter 
what your profession (provided, of course, that you were 
a gentleman by position), you must have made some 
mark in it, shown yourself ahead of the ruck of com- 
petitors, before you could have been welcome among the 
Flybynights. Two or three leading advocates, attached 
for the most part to the criminal bar ; half-a-dozen land- 
scape and figure painters of renown; half-a-dozen actors; 
a sporting man or two, with the power of talking about 
something else besides Brother to Bluenose's perform- 
ances ; two or three City men, who combined the most 
thorough business habits with convivial tastes in the 
" off" hours ; a few members of Parliament, who were 
compelled to respect the room as a thoroughly neutral 
ground; a few journalists and authors, and a sprinkling 
ol nothing-doing men about town, — formed the corporate 
body of the club. What was its origin? I believe that 
certain members of the Haresfoot Club, finding that esta- 
blishment scarcely so convivial as report had led them, 
to believe; that the Dii major cs of the house were a few 
snuffy old gentlemen, without an idea beyond the asser- 



212 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

tion of their own dignity and the keeping up of some 
dreary fictions and time-worn conventionalities ; that the 
delights of the smoking-room, so much talked of in the 
outer world, in reality consisted in sitting between a 
talkative barrister and a silent stockbroker, or listening 
to the complaints against the management of the club 
by the committee ; finding, in fact, that the place was 
dull, bethought them of establishing another where they 
could be more amused. Hence the Flybynights. 

The Flybynights had no house of their own ; they 
merely occupied a room on the basement of the Orpheus 
tavern, — a dull sombre old room, with big couches and 
lounges covered with frayed leather, with a smoky old 
green-flock paper, and with no ornament save a battered 
old looking-glass in a fly-blown frame. Occasionally 
roisterers new to town, on their way to the big concert- 
room of the Orpheus, where they were to be enchanted 
with the humour of Mr. Bloss's " Dying Cadger's La- 
ment," or the pathos of Mr. Seeinault's " Trim-built 
Wherry," would in mistake push open the green-baize 
door leading to the Flybynights sanctum, and immedi- 
ately withdraw in dismay at the dinginess of the room 
and the grim aspect of its occupants. That grimness, 
however, was only assumed at the apparition of a stran- 
ger; when the members were alone among themselves, 
perfect freedom from restraint was the rule. And if, on 
the next morning, the jurymen who listened with awe to 
the withering denunciations which fell from the lips of 
the learned counsel for the prosecution, — the bank-di- 
rectors who nodded approval to the suggestions of cer- 
tain shrewd financiers, — the noble sitters who marked 
the brows of the artists engaged on their portraits, 
" sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought," — nay, even 
the patients who gazed with eager eyes to glean some- 
thing from the countenances of the physicians then 
clutching their pulses, — had seen counsel, financiers, 
artists, and physicians on the previous evening at the 
Flybynights, they could not have recognised them for 
the same men. The fame of the club spread; anecdotes 



THE FLYBYNIGHTS. 213 

and l)on-mois ran round town more quickly, and were 
better received, when they had the Flybynight stamp. 
It was rumoured that O'Blank and Macaster, the great 
authors, were occasionally to be seen there in the flesh, 
conversing like ordinary mortals; heavy swells found out 
that it was open as late as Pratt's, and asked each othei, 
in elliptic phraseology, " Whether 'twasn't good kind 
place, eh? met 'musing kind fellahs there; made laugh'n, 
that kind thing ?" But though they made various at- 
tempts at election, they never got beyond an occasional 
visit to the club; friendly attempts to smuggle them in 
as members were dead failures ; and at every ballot, 
generally held at midnight, the strident voice of Rupert 
Robinson, author and dramatist, could be heard asking, 
at the mention of any candidate's name, "Who is he? 
what can he do? what has he done?" questions which, 
unless satisfactorily answered, caused the immediate 
pilling of the pretender to association with the Fly- 
bynights. 

A few weeks after the Schroders' reception, Beresford 
and Simnel, who had been dining together, strolled into 
the club soon after midnight. Beresford was a member; 
Simnel came as his guest; the latter would have been 
safe of election, as his tact and shrewdness were very 
generally known and highly esteemed amongst the men, 
but he always refused to be put in nomination. " It's 
all very well for Beresford," he would say; "he's a Com- 
missioner, and can do as he likes ; I'm an upper servant ; 
and though you're a deuced pleasant set of fellows, you 
haven't got a great name for respectability with the B. P., 
or British Public, whom I serve. It's horribly virtuous, 
is the B. P., and is always in bed before you sweet youths 
meet in this bower of bliss. So that though I'm delighted 
to come occasionally with Charley and pay you a visit, I 
must be in a position, if called upon, to swear that I'm 
not an affiliated member of your sacred brotherhood." 
The other men understood all this, and liked Simnel 
better for his candour; and there was no visitor at the 
Flybynights more welcome than he. It was a great oc- 



214 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

easion at the Flybynights ; one of the members, Mr. 
Plinlimmon the poet, had that day been giving a lecture 
" On Sentiment, its Use and Abuse," at St. Cecilia's Hall, 
and had had great success. For Mr. Plinlimmon was not 
a mere common poet who made verses and sold them; he 
was cousin to Lady Heritage, whose husband was the 
Lord Privy-Purse; and he was very well off, and wrote 
only for his amusement, and consequently was the very 
man to be patronised. Moreover, he wrote weak little 
verselets, like very-much-diluted "Wordsworth, abounding 
in passages quotable for Academy pictures of bread-and- 
butter children ; and he was much taken up by Mr. 
Spicklittle, the editor of the Boomeraiyj Magazine, so 
soon as it was understood that he stood well with the 
fashionable world. And there had been a very fashion- 
able audience at St. Cecilia's Hall to hear Mr. Plinlim- 
mon on " Sentiment," and the stalls had been filled with 
what was afterwards stated in the public prints to be the 
rank and flower of the land; and high-born women had 
complimented him on the conclusion of his labours, and 
had voted his lecture charming; all of which thoroughly 
consoled the lecturer, and enabled him to forget the rude 
conduct of certain rough-spoken critics in the body of 
the hall, who had loudly cried " Bosh!" at his finest pass- 
ages, and gone out with much shuffling of thick boots 
and dropping of heavy walking-sticks long before his 
peroration. And after dining with a countess, Mr. Plin- 
limmon thought that the right thing was to go down and 
show himself at the Flybynights Club, of which he was 
a member; and he had entered the room just before 
Leresford and Simnel arrived. 

"Hail, Plinlimmon!" shouted Mr. Magnus the his- 
torian, with kindly glances beaming through his spec- 
tacles ; " hail, bard of the what-d'ye-call-it ! How air 
you, colonel?" 

" Hallo, Plinlimmon!" shouted Mr. Eupert Robinson; 
"been giving a show, haven't you? what sort of house 
did you have? who looked after your checks? you were 
very well billed, I noticed." 



THE FLYJ1YNIGHTS. 215 

Plinlimmon shuddered. 

*• Lecturing, haven't you?" asked Mr. Slater, critic of 
the Moon. 

'•Yes," said Pliulimmon, "I have been giving a 
lecture." 

"Ah!" said Mr. Schrink, critic of the Statesman, "if 
I'm not wrong, Dr. Johnson defines the verb to lecture 
as to ' instruct insolently and dogmatically.' You're 
quite capable of that, Plinlimmon." 

'• What was your subject, sir?" asked Mr. Mugg, low 
comedian of the Sanspareil Theatre. 

" Sentiment, sir !" said Mr. Plinlimmon, fiercely ; it 
began to dawn on him that he was being chaffed. 

"Deary me!" said Mr. Mugg, with feigned wonder 
and uplifted hands; "sentiment, eh? them's my senti- 
ments !" 

" Silence, you ribalds!" said Mr. Magnus. " You had 
a large attendance, I hear, Plinlimmon; more women 
than men, though, I suppose? Men don't come in the 
day-time." 

" There was a great gathering of the female aristo- 
cracy," said Plinlimmon, perking up his head. 

" One old woman jawing always brings together a lot 
of others," growled Mr. Dunster, beneath his breath. He 
had been apparently dozing in a far corner of the room, 
but had roused up at the word " aristocracy," — as sure 
an irritant to him as a red rag to a bull, — and his bright 
blue eyes were gleaming. 

" I didn't think much of your delivery, Plinlimmon," 
said Mr. Slater. 

" It was as slow as a mid-day postman's, and not so 
sure," said Mr. Schrink; "you got uncommonly drowsy 
and bag-pipy at times." 

" I'll tell you what it is, Plinlimmon," said Mr. 
Dunster; "you are uncommonly dreary! You're a swell, 
and you can't help it; but you were horribly slow. I'll 
tell you what it is, my young friend; you're far too dull 
by yourself, — you want a piano." 

During the roar which followed this remark, Beres- 



216 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

ford felt a light touch on his arm, and turning round 
saw Dr. Prater. 

Not to be known to Dr. Prater was to confess that 
the " pleasure of your acquaintance" was of little value ; 
for assuredly, had it been worth any thing, Dr. Prater 
would have had it by hook or by crook. A wonderful 
man, Dr. Prater, who had risen from nothing, as his 
detractors said; but however that might be, he had a 
practice scarcely excelled by any in London. Heart and 
lungs were Dr. Prater's specialities; and persons ima- 
gining themselves afflicted in those regions came from 
all parts of England, and thronged the doctor's dining- 
room in Queen- Anne Street in the early forenoons, vainly 
pretending to read Darwin On the Fertilisation of Orchids, 
the Life of Captain Heclley Vicars, or the Supplement of 
yesterday's Times ; and furtively glancing round at the 
other occupants of the room, and wondering what was 
the matter with them. That dining-room looked rather 
different- about a dozen times in the season, of an even- 
ing, when the books were cleared away, and the big 
bronze gas-chandelier lighted, and the doctor sat at the 
large round-table surrounded by a dozen of the jilea- 
santest people in London. Such a mixture ! Never was 
such a man for " bringing people together" as Dr. Prater. 
The manager of the Italian Opera (Dr. Prater's name 
was to all the sick -certificates for singers) would be 
seated next to a judge, who would have a leading mem- 
ber of the Jockey Club on his other hand, and a bishop 
for his vis-a-vis. Next the bishop would be a cotton- 
lord, next to him the artist of a comic periodical, and 
next to him a rising member of the Opposition, with an 
Indian colonel and an American comedian, here on a 
starring engagement, in juxtaposition. The dinner was 
always good, the wines excellent, and the doctor was the 
life and soul of the party. He had something special to 
say to every one; and as his big protruding eyes shone 
and glimmered through his gold-rimaied spectacles, he 
looked like a convivial little owl. A very different man 
over the dinner-table to the smug little pale-faced man 



THK RLYISYNIUHTS. 217 

in blade, whom wretched patients found in the morning 
.sitting behind a leather-covered table, on which a ste- 
thoscope was conspicuously displayed, and who, after 
sounding the chests of consumptive curates or struggling 
clerks, would say, with an air of blandness, dashed with 
sorrow, " I'm afraid the proverbially treacherous air of 
our climate will not do for us, my dear sir ! I'm afraid 
we must spend our winter at Madeira, or at least at Pau. 
Good day to you;" and then the doctor, after shaking 
hands with his patient, would slip the tips of his fingers 
into his trousers-pockets, into which would fall another 
little paper-package to join a number already there de- 
posited, while the curate or clerk, whose yearly income 
was perhaps two hundred pounds, and who probably had 
debts amounting to twice his annual earnings, would go 
away wondering whether it was better to endeavour to 
borrow the further sum necessary at ruinous interest, or 
to go back and die in the cold Lincolnshire clay parish, 
or in the bleak Xorthern city, as the case might be. On 
one thing the doctor prided himself greatly, that he 
never let a patient know what he thought of him. He 
would bid a man remove his waistcoat with a semi- 
jocund air, and the next instant listen to a peculiar 
- click" inside his frame, which betrayed the presence of 
heart-disease liable at any moment to carry the man off, 
without altering a muscle of his face or a tone of his 
voice. " Hum ! ha ! we must be a little careful ; we 
must not expose ourselves to the night-air ! Take a leetle 
more care of yourself, my dear sir; for instance, I would 
wear a wrap round the throat — some wrap, you know, to 
prevent the cold striking to the part affected. Send this 
to Bell's, and get it made up, and take it three times 
a-day; and let me see you on — on Saturday. Good day 
to you." And there would not be the smallest quiver 
in the hard metallic voice, or the smallest twinkle in the 
observant eye behind the gold-rimmed glasses, although 
the doctor knew that the demon Consumption, by his 
buffet, had raised that red spot on the sufferer's cheek, 
and was rapidly eating away his vitality 



218 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

But if Dr. Prater kept a strict reticence to his pa- 
tients as regarded their own ailments, he was never so 
happy as when enlarging to them on the diseases of their 
fellow-sufferers, or of informing esoteric circles of the 
special varieties of disorder with which his practice led 
him to cope. " You ill, my dear sir!" he would say to 
some puny specimen; then, settling himself into his 
waistcoat after examination, " you complain of narrow- 
chestedness, — why, my dear sir, do you know Sir Hawker 
de la Crache? You've a pectoral development which is 
perfectly surprising when contrasted with Sir Hawker's. 
But then he, poor man! last stage, — Madeira no good, — 
would sit up all night playing whist at Beid's Hotel. 
Algiers no good, — too much brandy, tobacco, and bac- 
carat with French officers — nothing any good. You, my 
dear sir, compared to Sir Hawker — pooh, nonsense!" Or 
in another form: " Any such case, my dear madam? any 
such case?" — turning to a large book, having previously 
consulted a small index — "a hundred such! Here, for 
instance, Lady Susan Bray, now staying at Yentnor, 
living entirely on asses'-milk — in some of our conditions 
wc must live on asses'-milk — left lung quite gone, life 
hanging by a thread. You're a Juno, ma'am, in com- 
parison to Lady Susan!" There was no mistake, how- 
ever, about the doctor's talent; men in his own profes- 
sion, who sneered at his charlatanerie of manner, allowed 
that he was thoroughly well versed in his subject. He 
•was very fond of young men's society; and, with all his 
engagements, always found time to dine occasionally 
with "the Guards at 'Windsor, with a City Company or 
two, or with a snug set en petit comite in Temple cham- 
bers, and to visit the behind-scenes of two or three thea- 
tres, the receptions of certain great ladies, and occasion- 
ally the meetings of the Plybynights Club. To the latter 
he always came in a special suit of clothes on account of 
the impregnation of tobacco-smoke; and when coming 
thither he left his carnage and his address, in case he 
was required, at the Minerva, with orders to fetch him 
at once. It would never have done for some of his 



THE VLYBYNIGHTS. 219 

patients to know that he was a member of the Flyby- 
nights. 

Such was Dr. Prater, who touched Beresford on the 
arm and said, " Not again, my dear sir ! I will not be 
balked of the opportunity of saying, ' how d'ye do ?' to 
you again." 

" Ah, doctor," said Beresford with that apparent 
frankness and bonhomie to which he owed so much of 
his popularity, " delighted to see you ! But what do you 
mean ' balked of the opportunity' ? Where was that ?" 

" A few weeks since, just before I left town ; — I've 
been away, and Dr. Seaton has kindly attended to my 
practice ; — we met at the house of our charming friend 
Mrs. Schroder; but I could not catch your eye. You 
were too well engaged; there was, as somebody — I don't 
know who, but somebody that every one knows — has 
said, there was metal more attractive. Ha! ha! A 
charming woman, Mrs. Schroder ! a very charming wo- 
man !" 

" Very charming," echoed Mr. Beresford shortly, not 
particularly caring about finding himself thoroughly 
focussed by the doctor's sharpest glances concentrated 
through his spectacles. " By the way, don't you know 
our secretary, Mr. Simnel, Dr. Prater?" 

The gentlemen bowed. " I have the pleasure of 
being well acquainted with Mr. Simnel by name, and 
of being at the present moment engaged in a corre- 
spondence with him in reference to a certificate which 
I have given. And, by the way, my dear sir," turning 
to Simnel, " you really must give young Pierrepoint his 
six weeks. You must indeed !" 

" If it rested with me, doctor, I'd give him unlimited 
leave ; confer on him the order of the ' sack,' " said Sim- 
nel, bluntly — " an idle stuck-up young hound !" 

" Harsh words, my dear sir ; harsh words ! However, 
I will leave our young friend's case with you and Mr. 
Beresford; I am sure it could not be in better hands. 
You were not in Saxe-Coburg Square the other night, I 
think ? De-lightful party !" 



220 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" No," said Simnel, " I'm not a great evening-party 
man myself; it's only your butterflies of fashion, like 
our friend here, who enjoy those light and airy gaieties. 
My pleasures are of a more substantial kind. By the 
way, doctor, how's Kitty Vavasour's cough ?" 

The doctor's eyes twinkled as he replied, " Oh, much 
better — very much better. Horrible draught down that 
first entrance, my dear sir, as she perhaps told — I mean, 
as you probably know. Dreadful draught! enough to 
kill half the corijphees in London. I've spoken to Grabb 
about it, but he won't do any thing ; and when I hinted 
at the drapery, asked me if I thought he was going to 
let his ballet-girls dance in bathing-gowns. Very rude 
man, G-rabb." 

" Very good style they did that in the other night," 
said Beresford, cutting in — "in Saxe-Coburg Square, I 
mean — very good, wasn't it ? I suppose it was the lady's 
taste ; but when they get hold of a woman with any no- 
tion of arrangement and effect, these parvenu fellows 
from the City certainly don't grudge the money for their 
fun. And in the way the Schroders are living, the esta- 
blishment must cost a pretty sum, I should imagine." 

" A pretty sum indeed, my dear sir," said the doctor. 
" However, I understand on all sides that Mr. Schroder 
can perfectly afford it. I hear from those who ought to 
know" (a great phrase of Dr. Prater's, this) " that his in- 
come is princely !" And then the doctor looked at the 
other two and repeated "princely!" and smacked his 
lips as though the word had quite a nice taste in his 
mouth. 

" It's a good thing to be a Polish Jew," growled Mr. 
Simnel. "This fellow's ancestors lent money to long- 
haired Grafs and swaggering Electors, aud got their in- 
terest when they could ; and thought themselves deuced 
lucky not to get their teeth pulled out when they asked 
for a little on account, or not to be put on the fire when 
they presented their bill. Their descendant lives in plea- 
santer days; we've given up pulling out their teeth, 
worse luck ! And that neat little instrument, ' Victoria, 



THE FLYBYNIGHTS. 221 

by the grace,' is as open to Jews as Christians. I always 
thought there was something wrong in that." 

"This Schroder is a tremendously lucky fellow, by 
Jove !" said Beresford. " He's got a very pretty wife 
and an enormous fortune ; and though he's not young, to 
judge from all appearances, has a constitution of iron, 
and will live for years to enjoy his good fortune." 

"Ah, my dear sir," said Dr. Prater in a low and 
solemn voice, " I'm afraid you're not correct in one par- 
ticular ; not correct in one particular !" and the little man 
shook his head and looked specially oracular. 

Simnel glanced up at him at once from under his 
heavy eyebrows; but Beresford only said, "Why, doctor, 
you're not going to try and make me believe any envious 
disparagement of Schroder's riches ?" 

" Not for the world, my dear sir ; not for the world ! 
Such rumours have been spread! but, as you say, only 
among the envious and jealous, who would whisper-away 
Coutts's credit, and decline to intrust their miserable ba- 
lance to Barings' ! No ; my doubts as to Schroder relate 
to another matter." 

" His health ?" said Simnel, who had kept his eyes on 
the solemn little man, and was regarding him keenly. 

" Pre-cisely !" said the doctor. And he stepped aside 
for an instant, helped himself to a pinch of snuff from a 
box on a neighbouring table, and returned to his com- 
panions, gazing up at them with a solemn steady stare 
that made him look more like an owl than ever. 

"His health!" exclaimed Beresford, "why there's 
surely nothing the matter with that ! He has the chest 
of a horse and the digestion of an ostrich. I don't know 
a man of his age to whom, to look at, you'd give a longer 
life." 

"Right, my dear sir," replied the doctor, "right 
enough from a non-professional view. But Mr. Schroder, 
like the gentleman of whom I have heard, but whose 
name I can't call to mind, has that within which passeth 
thow. I Inioiv the exact state of his condition." 

•'This is very interesting," said Mr. Simnel, drawing 



222 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

closer to the doctor on the ottoman ; " very interesting, 
indeed ; yours is a wonderful profession, doctor, for 
gaining insight into men and things. Would it be too 
much to ask you to tell us a little more about this par- 
ticular case ?" 

" "Weil, you know, I don't often talk of these matters ; 
there are men in our profession, my dear sir, who gossip 
and chatter, and I believe make it pay very well ; but 
they are men of no intellect, mere quacks and charlatans 
— quacks and charlatans ! But with gentlemen like your- 
selves, men of the world, I don't mind occasionally re- 
vealing a few of the secrets of the — the — what d'ye call 
'em ? — prison-house. The fact is — " and the doctor low- 
ered his voice and looked additionally solemn, — "that 
Mr. Schroder's life hangs by a thread." 

Both his listeners started, and Mr. Simnel from be- 
tween his set teeth said, " The devil !" 

" By a thread !" repeated the doctor, holding out his 
finger and thumb as though he actually had the thread 
between them. " He may go off at any moment ; his 
life is not certain for an hour ; he's engaged, as you know, 
in tremendous transactions, and any sudden fright or 
passion would be his certain death." 

" Ah, then his disease is — " 

" Heart, my dear sir, heart !" said the doctor, tapping 
himself on the left side of his waistcoat ; " his heart's 
diseased, — one cannot exactly say how far, but I suspect 
strongly, — and he may go out at any moment like the 
snuff of a candle." 

" Have you known this long ?" asked Beresford. 

" Only two days : he came to me two days ago to 
consult me about a little worrying cough which he de- 
scribed himself as having ; and in listening at his chest 
I heard the death-beat. No mistaking it, my dear sir ; 
when you've once heard that 'click,' you never forget it." 

" By Jove, how horrible !" said Simnel. 

"Poor devil! does he know it himself?" asked Beres- 
ford. 

" Know it, my dear sir ? Of course not. You don't 



THE FLYBYNIGHTS. 223 

imagine I told him ? Why the shock might have killed 
him on the spot. Oh, dear, no! I prescribed for his 
cough, and told him specially to avoid all kind of excite- 
ment : that was the only warning I dare give him." 

As the doctor said this, Mr. Simnel rose. "It's a 
horrible idea," said he with a shudder — "horrible!" 

" Very common, my dear sir, very common. If you 
knew how many men there are whom I meet out at din- 
ner, in society, here and there, whom I know to be as 
distinctly marked for death as if I saw the plague-spot 
on their breasts!" 

" Well, you've completely frightened me," said Beres- 
ford. "I'll get home to bed, and try and forget it in 
sleep. Are you coming, Simnel ? Good night, doctor." 
And the two gentlemen went out together, leaving the 
little doctor already sidling up to another group. 

When they were out in the street, and had started on 
their homeward walk, Simnel said to his companion : 

" That was strange news we've just heard." 

" Strange, indeed," replied Beresford. " Do you think 
the doctor's right ?" 

" Not a doubt of it ; he's a garrulous idiot ; as full of 
talk as an old woman ; but I have always heard very skil- 
ful in his profession, and in this special desease I believe 
there are none to beat him. Oh, yes, he's right enough. 
Well, you always held winning cards, and now the game 
looks like yours." 

" Simnel," said Beresford, stopping short and looking 
up into his face, " what the devil do you mean ?" 

"Mean!" echoed Simnel; "I'll tell you when you 
come on ; it's cold stopping still in the streets, and the 
policeman at the corner is staring at you in unmitigated 
wonder. Mean!" he repeated, as they walked on ; "well, 
it's not a very difficult matter to explain. You hear that 
Schroder has heart-disease — that at any moment he may 
die. You always had a partiality for Mrs. Schroder, I 
believe ; and if there be any truth in what I gather from 
yourself and others, you stand very well with her." 

"Well?" 



224 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" Well ! You're dense to-night, Master Charley. Well? 
Why, you've as great a chance as man ever had before 
you. You've only to wait until what Prater told us of 
happens, — and if he's right, it won't be long, — and then 
marry the widow and start as a millionaire." 

"By Jove, it ?'s a great chance!" said Beresford, 
looking at his friend. 

"And yet you didn't see it until just now. Why, it 
opened straight up in front of me the instant that chat- 
tering medico mentioned the fact. If you play your cards 
well, you're all right ; but remember, flirtation and court- 
ship are two different things, and must be managed dif- 
ferently. And recollect it's for the latter you're now 
going in. Xow, here's my street, so adieu. Sleep on 
this matter, and we'll talk of it to-morrow morning." 

" It's a tremendous fluke," said Mr. Simnel, as he 
leisurely undressed himself ; " but it will serve my pur- 
pose admirably. That eight hundred pounds of mine lent 
to Master Charley looks much less shaky than it did, and 
what a trump-card to play with Kate I" 



CHAPTER XXII. 

Mil. iSIMNEL AT THE DEN. 

Two days after the events recorded in the last chapter, 
Mr. Siinnel left the Tin-Tax Office a couple of hours 
earlier than his usual time of departure, and taking a cab, 
hurried off to his apartments in Piccadilly. Overlooking 
the Green Park, sufficiently lofty to be removed from the 
immediate noise of the traffic, and situate in that part of 
the street which was macadamised, there were, perhaps, no 
more delightful chambers in town than those occupied 
by the Tin-Tax secretary. They consisted but of three 
rooms — sitting-room, bed-chamber, and bath-room; but 
all were lofty and well-proportioned, and were furnished 
in a thoroughly luxurious manner. A big bookcase, with 
its contents admirably selected, covered one side of the sit- 
ting-room, on the walls of which hung Raphael Morghen 
prints, and before-letter proofs after Landseer, Leslie, 
and Stanfield ; a round table, over which were suspended 
three swinging moderator-lamps, with white-china shades 
and crimson-silk fringe ; a sofa and numerous easy-chairs, 
all in crimson velvet and walnut-wood; rich spoils of 
Bohemian glass, standing in odd corners on quaint oak 
cabinets ; two Sevres china dogs, in begging attitude, 
mounting guard on either end of the mantelshelf; and a 
flying female figure suspended across the looking-glass ; 
— such were among the incongruous contents of the room. 
On the table, two yellow-paper covered French novels, a 
Horace, and M'Culloch's Commercial Directory lay side 
by side ; in the looking-glass, cards for evening-parties 
and dinners were jostled by tickets soliciting vote and in- 
terest in approaching elections of charitable societies, re- 

Q 



228 BROKEN TO HAEXESS. 

mindings of gatherings of learned bodies, and small bills 
for books or boots. It was Mr. Simnel's pleasure to keep 
up this melange; his time was generally fully occupied; 
he chose people to consider that he had not a moment to 
himself; he wished those who called on him on business 
to see the invitations, in order that they might judge 
therefrom of his position in society ; and he took care 
that the attention of those idle droppers-in, who came on 
a, Sunday morning, for instance, or late at night, to have 
a chat, should be directed to the business-cards, to give 
them a notion of his standing in the money-making, 
business world. Since Mr. Simnel assumed the reins at 
the Tin-Tax Office, two or three hundred men had sat 
with their legs under that round table, discussing an ex- 
cellent dinner, and meeting pleasant people ; but not one 
of them had ever left the room without Mr. Simnel's 
feeling that his coming had been productive of benefit to 
his host, and that the invitation had fully answered its 
intent. Baron Oppenhardt, the great financier, never 
could tell what made him accept Simnel's invitation, save 
that he knew his host was connected with Government 
and had a long head of his own ; yet he never refused. 
And little Blurt, whose " connexion with the press" was 
of a limited nature, never could understand why, bien- 
nially, he sat under those shaded moderator-lamps in Pic- 
cadilly, and consumed Pommery Greno out of bell-shaped 
glasses. But Simnel knew why he had them to dinner, 
and took their value out of both Oppenhardt and Blurt. 

A long-headed man, Mr. Simnel, and, to judge from 
the strange smile on his face on that particular day, full 
of some special scheme, as he emerged from his bedroom 
and looked out into Piccadilly. Any thing but a vain 
man, and long past the age when the decoration of one's 
person enters largely into account, Mr. Simnel had yet 
paid special attention to his toilette during the short in- 
terval which had elapsed since his arrival at home from 
the Tin-Tax Office. He was got up with elaborate care 
and yet perfect simplicity ; indeed, there was a touch of 
the old school in his drab riding-trousers, white waistcoat 



ME. SIMNEL AT THE DEN. 227 

blue cut-away coat, and blue bird's-eye neckerchief, with 
small stand-up collars. A glance into the street showed 
him that his horses were ready, and he descended at once. 
At the door he found his groom mounted on a knowing-" 
looking gray cob, short, stiff, and sturdy, and leading a 
splendid thoroughbred bright bay with black points. This 
Mr. Simnel mounted and rode easily away. 

Through Decimus Burton's archway he turned into 
Hyde Park and made at once for the Row. There were 
but few men lounging about there at that time of the 
year, but Simnel was known to some of them; and after 
nods had been exchanged, they fell to comparing notes 
about him and his horse and his style of living, won- 
dering how it was done, admiring his cleverness, de- 
tracting from his position — talking, in fact, as men will 
do of another who has beat them in this grand struggle 
for place which we call life. The Row was very empty, 
and Simnel paid but little attention to its occupants: 
now and then he occasionally raised his whip mechani- 
cally in acknowledgment of some passing salute, but it 
is to be doubted whether he knew to whom he was tele- 
graphing, as his thoughts were entirely fixed on his mis- 
sion. However, he wore a pleasant smile on his face, 
and that was quite enough: grinning, like charity, covers 
a multitude of sins; and if you only smile and hold your 
tongue, you can pass through life with an eclat which 
excellent eloquence, combined with a serious face, would 
fail to give. So Mr. Simnel went smiling along at the 
easiest amble until he got clear of the Row and the town, 
and then he gave the bay his head, and never drew rein 
until he turned up a country lane immediately on pass- 
ing Ealing Common. 

Half way up this lane stood The Den, and evidences 
of Kate Mellon's calling began to abound so soon as you 
turned out of the high-road. In the fields on either side 
through the bare hedges one could see a string of horses 
in cloths and head-pieces, each ridden by a groom, skirt- 
ing the hedges along which a proper riding -path had 
been made; occasionally a yellow break, driven by a 



228 BKOKEX TO UAlt.N I'.SS. 

veteran coachman, with a younger and more actis r e coad- 
jutor perched up behind, and standing with his eves on 
a level with the coach-box observing every motion of the 
horses, would rumble by, while the clay-coloured gig con- 
taining Mr. Sandcrack the veterinary surgeon, who, in 
his long white cravat, beard, and tight trousers, looked 
a pleasant compound of a dissenting-minister, a horse- 
jockey, and an analytical chemist, was flying in and out 
of the lane at all times and seasons. Mr. Simnel seemed 
accustomed to these scenes and thoroughly well loiown 
amongst them, the grooms and brcaksmen touched their 
hats to him, and he exchanged salutations with Mr. 
Sandcrack, and told him that the bay had got rid of all 
his wind-galls and never went better in his life. So 
straight up the lane until he arrived at the lodge, and 
then, before his groom could ride up, his cheery cry of 
" Gate !" brought out the buxom lodge-keeper, and she 
also greeted Mr. Simnel with a curtsey of recognition, 
and received his largesse as he rode through; so down 
the little carriage-chive, past the pigeon-house elevated 
on a pole, and the pointers' kennels, and the strip of 
garden cultivated by the lodge-keeper, and in which one 
of the lodge-keeper's dirty chubby children was always 
sprawling ; past the inner gates, through which could be 
caught glimpses of the circular straw-ride, and the stable 
and loose boxes, and the neatly gravelled court-yard, up 
the sweep and so to the house-door. Freeman, the staid 
stud-groom from Yorkshire, had seen the visitor's entry 
from the stable, where he was superintending, and hur- 
ried up to meet him. Before Mr. Simnel's own groom 
had come alongside, Freeman was at his horse's head. 

" Mornin', sir," said he, touching his hat. " Missis 
is oop at Fouracres, close by, givin' lesson to a young 
leddy, just by t' water soide: joompin' brook, oi think. 
Howsever she'll be in d'rackly, oi know." 

" All right, Freeman," said Mr. Simnel, leisurely dis- 
mounting. " Horses all well? Fine weather for horse- 
flesh, this I" 

" Ay, ay, it be, sir !" said the old man. " Stood be 



MR. SIMNEL AT THE DRN\ 229 

pratty well, oi'm thinkin': coughs and colds, and that 
loike, as is allays case this toime o' year." 

" Don't hurry Miss Mellon on my account, Freeman," 
said Mr. Simnel; " I can wait. I'll go into the house, 
and yon can let her know that I'm here, when she comes 
in. By the way, Freeman, I haven't seen you since 
Christmas: here's for old acquaintance' sake." 

Freeman touched his hat gratefully, but not sub- 
missively, as he pocketed the half-sovereign which Mr. 
Simnel slipped into his capacious palm, and moved oft' 
towards the stables with the groom and the horses. 

" Good man, that," said Simnel to himself, as he 
went into the house. " Straightforward, conscientious 
sort of fellow, and thoroughly devoted to lies. Proper 
style of man to have in an establishment : thoroughly 
respectable — do one credit by his looks. If it ever comes 
off, I certainly should keep Mr. Freeman on." 

Mr. Simnel passed on into the long low dining-room, 
where he found the table spread for luncheon, with a 
very substantial display of cold roast beef, fowls, and 
tongue, sherry, and a tall bottle of German wine. He 
smiled as he noticed these preparations, and then lei- 
surely walked round the room. He paused at an oil- 
painting of Kate with a favourite horse by her side. The 
artist evidently knew much more about the equine than 
the human race. The horse's portrait was admirable, 
but poor Kitty, with vermilion cheeks and glaring red 
hair, and a blue habit with long daubs of light in it, 
like rain-streaks on a window, was a lamentable object 
to look on. Only one other picture decorated the walls, 
a portrait of the Right Hon. the Earl of Quorn, aged Gl, 
founder of the Society for the Relief of Incapacitated 
Jobmasters and Horse-dealers, dedicated to him by his 
faithful servants the publishers; representing a hale old 
gentleman, remarkable principally for Ins extraordinary 
length of check -neckcloth, seated on a weight -carrying 
cob, and staring intently at nothing. On a side -table 
lay a thick book, Youatt mi the Horse, and a thin pam- 
phlet, Navicular not Incurable, a Little Warbler (poor 



230 BROKEN TO HAUNKSS. 

Kitty !), and a kind of album, into which a heteroge- 
neous mixture of recipes for horse-medicines, scraps of 
hunting news, lists of prices fetched at the sales of cele- 
brated studs, and other sporting memoranda had been 
pasted. Simnel was looking through this, and had just 
come upon a slip of printed matter, evidently cut from a 
newspaper, announcing the appointment of Mr. Charles 
Beresford to be a commissioner of the Tin-Tax Office, in 
place of Cockle pensioned — a slip against which there 
were three huge deep pencil-scorings — when the door 
opened and his hostess entered. 

Although her habit was draggled and splashed, and 
her hair disarranged and blown about her face, Kate 
Mellon never had looked, to Simnel's eyes at least, more 
thoroughly charming than she did at that instant. The 
exercise she had just gone through had given her a 
splendid colour, her eyes were bright and sparkling, her 
whole frame showed to perfection in the tight-fitting 
jacket; and as she came into the room and removed her 
hat, the knot of hair behind, loosened from the comb, 
fell over her shoulders in golden profusion. She wound 
it up at once with one hand, advancing with the other 
outstretched to her guest. 

" Sorry I'm late, Simnel," said she ; " but I had a 
pfipil here, and business is business, as you know well 
enough. Can't afford to throw away any chance, so I 
gave her her hour, and now she's off, and I am all the 
better by a guinea. I didn't stop to change my habit 
because I heard you were waiting, and I knew you 
wouldn't mind." 

" You couldn't look more enchanting than you do 
now, Kate," said Simnel. 

" Yes, yes ; I know," said Kitty ; " all right ! But 
I thought you knew better than that. This is the wrong 
shop for flummery of that sort, as you ought to have 
learnt by this time. Have some lunch?" 

They sat down to the table, and during the meal 
talked on ordinary subjects; for the most part discussing 
their common acquaintance, but always carefully avoid- 



Jilt. SIMNEL AT THE DEM". 231 

ing bringing Bercsford's name forward. When they had 
finished, Kate said, " You want to smoke, of course. I 
think I shall have a puff myself. No, thank you; your 
weeds are too big for me ; I've got some Queens here 
that old Sir John Elle sent me after I broke that roan 
mare for his daughter. By George, what a brute that 
was ! nearly killed me at first, she did ; and now you 
might ride her with a pack-thread." 

Simnel did not reply. Kate Mellon curled herself 
up on an ottoman in the window with her habit tucked 
.round her; lit a small cigar; and slowly expelling the 
smoke said, as the blue vapour curled round her head, 
" And now to business ! You wanted to talk to me, 
you said; and I told you to come up to-day. What's it 
all about ?" 

" About yourself, Kate. You know thoroughly well 
my feelings to you; you know how often I have — " 

" Hold on a minute !" said Kate ; " I know that 
you've been philandering and hanging on about me, — or 
would have been, if I'd have let you, — for this year past. 
I know that well enough; but I thought there was to be 
none of this. I thought I'd told you to drop that sub- 
ject, and that you'd consented to drop it. I told you I 
wouldn't listen to you, and — " 

" Why would not you listen to me, Kate?" said Sim- 
nel earnestly. 

" Why ? Because—" 

" Don't trouble yourself to find an excuse ; I'll tell 
you why," said Simnel. " Because you were desperately 
bent on a fruitless errand; because you were beating the 
wind and trying to check the storm; because you were 
in love, — I must speak plainly, Kitty, in a matter like 
this, — in love with a man who did not return your feel- 
ing, and who even now is boasting of your passion, and 
laughing at you as its dupe !" 

" What!" cried the girl, throwing away the cigar and 
starting to her feet. 

" Sit down, child," said Simnel, gently laying his 
hand on her arm; " sit down, and hear me out. I know 



-^- BROKEN TO HARXESS. 

your pluck and spirit; and nothing grieves me more, or 
goes more against the grain with me, than to have to 
tell you this. But when I tell you that the man to 
whom you so attached yourself has spoken lightly and 
sneeringly of your infatuation; that amongst his friends 
he has laughingly talked of a scene which occurred on 
the last occasion of his visit to this house, when you 
suggested that he should marry you — " 

" Did he say that?" asked the girl, pushing her hair 
back from her face, — " did he say that?" 

" That and more; laughed at the notion, and — " 

" my God !" shrieked Kate Mellon, throwing up 
her arms. " Spare me ! stop, for Heaven's sake, and 
don't let me hear any more. Did he say that of me ? 
Then they'll all know it, and when I meet them will 
grin and whisper as I know they do. Haven't I heard 
them do it of others a thousand times? and now to think 
they'll have the pull of me. good Lord, good Lord !" 
and she burst into tears and buried her face in her hand- 
kerchief. Then suddenly rousing, she exclaimed: " AVhat 
do you come and tell me this for, Simnel ? AVhat busi- 
ness is it of yours ? What's your motive in coming and 
smashing me up like this ?" 

" One, and one only," said Simnel in a low voice. 
" I wanted to prevent your demeaning yourself by ever 
showing favour to a man who has treated you so basely. 
I Avanted you to show your own pride and spirit by 
blotting this Bercsford from your thoughts. I wanted 
you to do this — whatever may be the result — because — I 
love you, Kate !" 

" That's it !" she cried suddenly— " that's it ! You're 
telling me lies and long stories, and breaking my heart, 
and making me make a fool of myself, only that you may 
stand well with me and get me to like you ! How do I 
know what you say is true? Why should Charley do 
this? Why did Charley refuse what I offered him'? I 
meant it honestly enough, Cod knows. Oh, Avhy did he 
refuse it ?" and again she burst into tears. 

" Oh, he did refuse it?" said Simnel, quietly. " So 



Jill. SLUNKL AT THE J1EN. 2-"!:J 

far, then, you see I am right; and you will find I am 
right throughout. I'll tell you why he acted as he did 
to you. Because he's full of family pride, and because 
he never eared for you one rush. At this very moment 
he is desperately iu love with a married woman, and is 
only awaiting her husband's death to make her his wife!'' 

" Can you prove that?" asked Kate eagerly. 

" I can ! you shall have ample opportunity of satisfy- 
ing yourself — " 

" Does the husband suspect?" 

" Not in the least." 

" That's right !" said the girl with sudden energy— 
"that'll do! Only let me prove that, and I'll give him 
up for ever." 

" If I do this for you, Kitty, surely my love will be 
sufficiently proved. You will then — " 

" Yes, we'll talk of that afterwards. I'll see you next 
week, and you'll tell me more of this new love-affair of — 
of his! Don't stop now. I'm all out of sorts. You've 
upset me. I wasn't in condition. I've been doing a 
little too much work lately. Go now, there's a good 
fellow! Good-by." Then stopping suddenly — "You're 
sure you're not selling me, Simnel?" 

"I swear it!" said Simnel. 

" I wish to heaven you had been," said the poor girl; 
"but we'll see about the new business next week. I 
think we'll spoil that pretty game between us, eh? 
There, good-by." And she set her teeth tight, and 
rushed from the room. 

" So far so good," said Mr. Simnel, as he rede quietly 
home. '■ She's taken it almost a little too strongly. My 
plan now is to soften her and turn her to me. I think I 
have a card in my hand that will win that trick, and 
then — the game's my own!" 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

ME. BERESFORD IX PURSUIT. 

The idea suggested by Simnel, after the interview with 
Dr. Prater at the Flybynights, came upon Mr. Beresford 
with extraordinary force. It opened up to him a new 
train of thought, gave a complete turn to his intended 
course of life, afforded him matter for the deepest study 
and reflection. As we have already seen, he was a man 
with a faultless digestion, and without a scrap of heart — 
two qualities which had undoubtedly greatly conduced 
towards his success in life, and towards making him a 
careless, easy-going worldly philosopher. When he first 
saw Miss Townshend at Bissett Grange, he remembered 
her as a cheery little flirt whom he had met during the 
previous season ; and finding her companionable and 
amusing, determined to carry on a flirtation which 
should serve as a pastime, and, at the break-up of the 
party, be consigned to that limbo already replete with 
similar amourettes. The presence of Captain Lyster, and 
the unmistakable evidence of his passion for the young 
lady, gave Mr. Beresford very little annoyance; he had 
a notion that, save in very exceptional cases, of which 
indeed he had had no experience, women had a horror of 
an earnest lover; that watchings and waitings, hangings 
on words, deep gazings into eyes, and all outward signs 
of that passion Avhich induces melancholy and affords 
themes for poets, were as much rococo and out of date as 
carrying a lady's glove in your hat and perpetually seek- 
ing a fight with some one on her account. He thought 
that women hated " dreary" lovers, and Avere far more 
likely to be won by rattle, laughter, and raillery than 



MR. BERESFORD IX PURSUIT. 235 

by the deepest devotion of a silent and sighing order. 
Moreover, as he was only going in for flirtation, he 
would make his running while it lasted, and leave the 
Captain to come in with the weight-carrying proprieties 
after he had gone. 

So far at first. Then came the recollection of his 
straitened position, the reflection that Miss Townshend 
was an heiress, and the determination to go in seri- 
ously for a proposal — a determination which was very 
short-lived, owing to the discovery of the lady's engage- 
ment to (xiistav Schroder. From the time of her mar- 
riage, Mrs. Schroder was by Beresford mentally relegated 
to a corps which included several married ladies of his 
acquaintance; for the most part young and pretty women, 
whose husbands were either elderly, or immersed in 
business, or, what was equally available, immersed in 
pleasure, and more attentive to other men's wives than 
to their own; ladies who required "notice," as they 
phrased it, and who were sufficiently good-looking to 
command it from some men, between whom and them- 
selves there existed a certain understanding. Nothing 
criminal, nor approaching to criminality; for despite the 
revelations of the Divorce Court, there is, I take it, a 
something, whether it be in what is called our phleg- 
matic temperament, whether it be in the bringing-up of 
our English girls, — bringing-up of domesticity utterly un- 
known to Continental-bred young ladies, which hallows 
and keeps constantly present the image of the doting 
father and the tender mother, and all the sacred home- 
associations, — a something which strengthens the weak 
and arrests the hand of the spoiler, and leaves the sacri- 
fice incomplete. The necessity for "notice," or for 
"being understood," or "for having some one to rely 
on' (the husband engaged in business or in the House 
being, of course, utterly untrustworthy), has created a 
kind of society which I can only describe as a kind of 
solid bread-and-butter demi-monde — a demi-monde which, 
as compared with that state of existence known in France 
under the title, is as a club to a tavern, where the same 



236 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

things are carried on, but in a far more genteel and 
decorous manner. The relations of its different members 
to each other are as free from Wertherian sentimentalism 
as they are from Parisian license, and would probably be 
considered severely correct by that circle of upper Bohe- 
mians, of whose lives the younger Dumas has constituted 
himself the chronicler. 

Having, then, mentally appointed Mrs. Schroder a 
member of this society, Mr. Beresford took upon himself 
the office of her cavalier, and behaved to her in due form. 
When they were in company together, he sedulously 
kept his eyes upon her, strove to anticipate her wishes, 
and let her see that it was she who entirely absorbed 
him; he always dropped his voice when he spoke to her, 
even though it were about the merest trifle ; and he in- 
variably took notice of the arrangements of her dress, 
hair, and appearance in general, and made suggestions 
ivhich, being in excellent taste, were generally approved 
and carried out. Then he found out Mrs. Schroder's 
romantic side, a little bit of nineteenth-century senti- 
ment, dashed with drawing-room cynicism, which found 
its exponent in Mr. Owen Meredith's weaker verses; and 
there they found plenty of quotations about not being- 
understood, and the " little look across the crowd," and 
" what is not, might have been," and other choice little 
sentiments, which did not tend to elevate Mr. Gustav 
Schroder, then hard at work in the City, in his wife's 
good opinion. Indeed, being a very weak little woman, 
with a parasitical tendency to cling for support to some- 
thing, and being without that something, which she had 
hitherto found in Barbara, free from the dread which 
her father's presence always imposed upon her, and 
having no companion in her husband, Mrs. Schroder 
began to look forward with more and more eagerness to 
her opportunities of meeting Charles Beresford, to take 
greater and greater delight in his attentions and his con- 
versation, and to substitute a growing repugnance for 
her hitherto passive endurance of Mr. Schroder. Charles 
Beresford was gradually coming to occupy the principal 



MR. BERE.Sl'ORl) IX I'UK.Sl'lT. ^ .'^ 7 

position in her thoughts, and this that gentleman per- 
ceived with mingled feelings of gratified vanity and 
annoyance. "She's going a little too fast!" he had said 
to himself; "this sort of thing is all very well; hut she's 
making it a mile too palpable! People will talk, and 
I'm not in a position to stand any public scandal; and 
as for bolting, or any thing of that sort, by Jove, it- 
would be sheer ruin and nothing less." In tins frame of 
mind, it had more than once occurred to Mr. Beresford 
to speak to Mrs. Schroder, and caution her as to her 
bearing towards him; but fortunately for him, so tho- 
roughly void of offence had been all their relations 
hitherto, that he scarcely dared to hint at what he in- 
tended to convey, without risking the accusation of im- 
puting evil by his very advice. And in the mean time, 
while he hesitated what course to take, came Dr. Prater's 
information, which at once changed all his plans. 

The day after the conversation at the Flybynights, 
Mr. Beresford left town and remained away for a week. 
The first day after his return, he went into Mr. Sinmel's 
room at the Office, and found that gentleman as usual 
surrounded with work. Contrary, however, to his gene- 
ral custom, Simnel no sooner looked up and saw Beres- 
ford than he threw down the pen which he was plying, 
rose, and advancing shook his friend heartily by the 
hand. 

"Glad to see you back, Charley!" he said; "I was 
afraid you were off for a ramble by your leaving no mess- 
age and no address. Some of the old games, eh? You 
must give them up now, Master Charley, and live circum- 
spectly; by Jove, you must." 

" Nothing of the sort," replied Beresford. " Gayford, 
who was chief here before Maddox, was an old friend of 
our family; and he's ill, poor old boy, so I went out of 
charity to stay with him. He's got a place at Berkhamp- 
stead, and there's deuced good hunting-country round 
there. I had three capital days ; Cayford's daughters 
were out ; clipping riders, those girls ; good as Kate 
Mellon any day!" 



238 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

"Indeed!" said Mr. Simnel, -wincing a little at the 
name: "I should think flirting with any body's daugh- 
ters, be they ever so ' clipping,' as you call it, would be 
time wasted for you just now, wouldn't it?" 

" What do you mean?" asked Beresford, knowing per- 
fectly, but anxious that the declaration should come from 
his companion. 

" Mean!" said Simnel, somewhat savagely. " What 
am I likely to mean ? That you ought to stick to your 
duties here and earn your salary; that Sir Hickory has 
heard that you go to the Argyle Booms, and is going to 
speak to Lord Palmerston about it; that you're hurting 
your health or spoiling your complexion by keeping late 
hours, — is that why I'm likely to tell you to live circum- 
spectly? What rubbish it is fencing with me in this way! 
You know that the last time we met was at that night- 
club of yours; that we had a talk there with Dr. Prater; 
and that you determined — " 

" I know," interrupted Beresford with a start — " I 
know," he continued, looking round, " I'm not over par- 
ticular; but I confess this plotting for a dead man's shoes 
seems to me infernal rascality." 

" What do you mean by ' plotting,' Charles Beresford? 
I am plotting for no dead man's shoes. I, have no hope 
of marrying a pretty widow, and having a splendid in- 
come; and as for rascality — " 

"There, I didn't mean it; I only thought — " 

" Nor, on the other hand," pursued Mr. Simnel, relent- 
lessly, " am /over head and ears in debt, pressed by Jews, 
horribly impecunious, and — " 

" Leave me alone, Simnel, can't you? I know all this; 
and as you must be perfectly certain, I've turned this 
Schroder affair over in my mind a hundred times already." 

"And what have you decided?" 

" To go in for it at all hazards." 

" I think you're right," said Simnel quietly; " it seems 
to me your last chance; and though it's not strictly a 
very nice business, there are hundreds of men holding 
their heads up before the world, which very much esteems 



ME. BERESFORD IN PURSUIT. 239 

tliem, who have made their money hi far worse transac- 
tions. You'll require an immense amount of patience and 
tact," 

'■' The former undoubtedly. Prater said he might go 
at any moment if — what was it ? — any thing excited or 
annoyed him. Question is what does excite a fellow of 
that sort — Muscovadoes being high, or gray-shirtings 
scarce, or pig-iron in demand, or some of those things 
one sees in the paper — banks breaking or stocks falling, 
eh? As for the tact, I don't think that will be required 
now." 

" How do you mean — now ?" 

"Because it's all squared already," said Beresford 
complacently. " I've only to go in and win whenever I 
like, I imagine. To tell the truth — though a man doesn't 
talk of these things, of course — I've being fighting shy 
of it lately, rather than pressing it on." 

"Yes, yes, of course," said Simnel impatiently; "I 
know all about that; but don't you see that the greatest 
tact will be required because your plan of operations must 
be entirely changed? You have been carrying on a very 
animated flirtation within certain limits; but now you 
are going in for a totally different thing. You are going 
in — sit down, and let us talk this over quietly, it's rather 
important: I know you've great experience in such mat- 
ters; but just listen to my humble advice, it may be 
worth hearing, — you are going in to make sure of marry- 
ing a woman after her husband's death; an event likely 
to occur at any time. To insure success there are two 
ways — one by compromising her — " 

" By Jove, Simnel!" exclaimed Beresford through his 
shut teeth. 

"Be quiet, and don't interrupt — I'm not going to 
brush the down off your virtue ! As I said, by compro- 
mising her, by which you gain a hold upon her which 
ehe cannot shake off, and must always acknowledge and 
bow to, when required. But this, besides being wrong 
and unjust, and all that sort of thing — which I don't so 
much mind— is risky, which I dislike; and if detected, 



210 BROKEN TO HARNESS 

brings the whole fabric to the ground. So we may put 
that on one side," 

" Ah!" said Beresford, with a sigh of relief; " and the 
other?" 

" The other is a totally different method, and unlike 
any thing you have ever tried, I suspect, with any one. 
It is simply by professing hopeless, unswerving, uncon- 
querable spooniness. You have hitherto — pardon the 
question — merely looked and sighed, &c? Ah, I thought 
so; that gesture was quite satisfactory as to the amount 
of tenderness. Well now, then, you must declare your- 
self. Quietly, of course, and, if you please, without any 
manifestations, which would entirely spoil our plan, the 
essence whereof is virtue. You declare yourself to this 
effect: that you are so completely smitten that you can 
keep silence no longer; that previous to going away for 
a lengthened period (for you believe that expatriation is 
the only thing that will afford temporary relief), you have 
determined on speaking to her, fearing she might think 
your absence strange, or hear its cause wrongly explained 
by somebody else; that yours is not like the feeble senti- 
ment of the butterflies who flutter around her, &c. &c. ; 
but a deep and stedfast passion, which will only cease 
with life. You know all that business. Then, that your 
respect for her is so great, that you will not give scandal 
the smallest chance of a Avhisper. Had you met in hap- 
pier times — oh! you did, eh? Well, then, had you been 
in a position, when you first met, to have offered, &c; 
but now, too late! love for ever; but leave for ever — 
foreign climes." 

"Yes; but vou know well enough I can't go abroad, 
and—" 

" My dear fellow, she'll never dream of your doing 
any thing of the sort. If I've any knowledge of women, 
she'll be deeply affected, as she ought to be, by your deu- 
cedly romantic story. She'll say a good deal about ' if,' 
in reference to former years; she'll state her full determi- 
nation to do nothing approaching the smallest shadow of 
wrong; but she'll avow she should be miserable at the 



jm. BERESFOllD IN rURSUIT. 241 

idea of being the cause of your banishment, find therefore 
she'll entreat you to stop in England and lie her brother." 

'■l>c her brother?" 

'• Ay, and a first-rate position you'll have of it as her 
brother. There'll be an immense amount of sentiment in 
the connexion; she'll defer to you in cxi;ry thing; your 
presence will always keep every body else off, find she'll 
never dream of carrying on with any one but you. How 
could she expect again to meet with such delicacy as 
you've shown? And if any thing should happen, you're 
safe to be first in the field and to cam' off the cup. Now 
do you see the line of country?" 

" Oh, yes, I see it fast enough, and I've no doubt I 
can manage it. It's rather a duffing business altogether; 
however, needs must, and I musn't risk any more flukes. 
One thing I am curious about, Simnel." 

" What's that?'' 

'• Why ijoti take such an interest in this business ? 
You first put me on to it, and you've evidently given it 
some of your precious time in thinking it out while I've 
been away. Be frank for once in your life, and say — " 

•• Why does it interest me?" said Simnel, nursing his 
leg, and giving a grin which showed all his big teeth. 
'• Well, Master Charley, your memory has never been 
good, but you might occasionally recollect that you owe 
me eight hundred pounds!" 

"Yes," said Beresford, "I know that well enough; 
but it isn't for that alone. You'll be safe to get that, 
if I marry and come into money; but there's something 
more in it than that, I know- It's that business with 
the name of that firm that you made me say to old 
Townshend, isn't it now, eh?" 

"What, Pigott and Wells!" said Simnel, rocking to 

and fro — " Pigott and Wells of Combcardingham? Well, 

perhaps that has something to do with it; who knows? 

Meantime, stick to Avhat I've told you; begin at once, 

and in a month's time come to me with a good report." 

And so ended the colloquy between this precious pair. 
# * * * * 



242 BROKEN TO HAEjS t ESS. 

Pursuing his instructions with a certain amount of 
relish, and all the experience of an accomplished and 
versatile actor, Mr. Beresford threw himself into his new 
character with spirit, and made a decided hit in it. All 
the raillery and nonsense, all the smiles and laughter, 
had vanished. Owen Meredith had been exchanged for 
Lord Byron ; and Mr. Beresford as a nineteenth-century 
London-made Giaour was doing terrible execution to that 
feeble little bit of Mrs. Schroder's anatomy which she 
called her heart. There was no one to say a kind word, 
to give proper advice, to the poor little woman in her 
need. Barbara was absolutely lost to her: she had been 
two or three times to Great Adullam Street, and Barbara 
had returned the call; but there was evident restraint on 
both sides. The outside show of friendship remained, 
but there was no animating spirit; none such, at least, 
as to call for the kind of confidence which Alice Schro- 
der would gladly have made, had she received the slight- 
est invitation. But Barbara was not the Barbara of old 
days : she looked worn and anxious, was constantly pre- 
occupied, and answered at random; she confined herself, 
moreover, to the merest commoirplaces in her conversa- 
tion, so that Alice got no help from her, Nor from her 
father had she any supervision: strict to a fault before 
her marriage, Mr. Townshend, having once settled his 
daughter, imagined that his duty in life was done, and 
that" henceforth he might devote himself entirely to plea- 
sure, consisting in haunting the City by day and the 
whist-tables at the Travellers by night. And it began 
to be noticed that this hitherto model British merchant 
drank a great deal of wine with his dinner, and a great 
deal of brandy affc 't; and there were ugly rumours 
running about 'Charts and drifting through Garraway's; 
and Townshend's clerks were rather in request at the 
Bay Tree, and were manifestly pumped as to whether 
there was any thing wrong with their governor, under 
the guise of being requested to " put a name" to what 
they would like to drink. It may be imagined, there- 
fore, that under this state of circumstances Mr. Towns- 



Mil. BEUESFORD IN PURSUIT. 243 

hend had neither time nor inclination to bestow any ad- 
vice upon that daughter, who, as he was in the habit of 
saying, " had made such a splendid alliance." With her 
husband Alice had, as has before been said, nothing in 
common. He was a cold, proud, well-meaning man, who 
g'oried as much as a white-blooded elderly person can be 
said to glory in his riches and his state, and who liked 
to have a pretty, elegant, well-dressed woman before him 
at table, in the same way that he liked to have a stout 
big-whiskered butler in a white waistcoat behind him. 
He liked his wife, when he had time to think about her; 
but he had been brought up in business, and that ab- 
sorbed his whole attention by day; while giving or going 
to parties, in which he could spend the result of what he 
had attained by business, occupied him at night. But 
he had the highest opinion of Mrs. Schroder's conduct, 
which he imagined was on a par with every thing else 
in the establishment — real and genuine; and he paid her 
bills, and presented her with cheques, with lavish gene- 
rosity. Only he was not exactly the man on whose 
bosom a wife could lay her head and confess that she 
was tempted beyond her strength. 

There was a man who, without being much mixed up 
with this little episode in the great drama of human life, 
overlooked some of the scenes, and saw the dangers to 
which one of the characters was rapidly exposing herself. 
That man was Fred Lyster, the one sentiment of whose 
life — his love for Alice Townshend — was as fresh and as 
green and as pure as ever. The announcement of her en- 
gagement was a great shock to him, and he had taken 
care only to meet her face to face once or twice since her 
marriage. The meeting upset him ; and though she was 
apparently unconscious of any feeling in the matter, it 
did her no good; and there was no earthly reason why it 
should be. But he went every where where she went, 
and watched her in the distance; his ears were alwaj r s 
on the alert whenever her name was mentioned in club 
smoke-rooms and such -like haunts of gossip; and he 
found, as he had dreaded with fatal prescience, at Bis- 



244 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

sett, that Beresford was on the trail. Long and ear- 
nestly he deliberated with himself as to what course he 
should pursue. Should he pick a quarrel on some other 
topic with Beresford, and shoot him? Shooting had 
gone out of fashion ; and if he killed his man, he should 
lie exiled from England; if he didn't kill him, where 
was the use of challenging him? Should he speak to 
Mr. Townshend? or was there no female friend to whom 
he could apply? Yes; Barbara Churchill. In Barbara 
Churchill he had the greatest confidence, and to her he 
would go at once. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

BARBARA'S FIRST LESSON IX THE MANEGE. 

For some few months after the events just described, 
the lives of those who form the characters of this little 
drama passed evenly on without the occurrence of any 
circumstance worthy of special record on the part of 
their historian. Mr. Beresford, implicitly following Mr. 
Simnel's advice, proceeded to lay siege to Mrs. Schroder 
in the manner agreed upon, and found his advances re- 
ceived very much after the fashion predicted by his as- 
tute friend. In all child-like simplicity Mrs. Schroder 
firmly believed in the baneful influence which she had 
unconsciously exercised over her admirer, and strove to 
make him amends by a charitable and sentimental pity. 
She could perfectly appreciate all his feelings; for was 
not she herself misunderstood? had her girlhood's dream 
been realised? what was wealth, what was position, to 
her? was she not mated with one who, &c? So she 
not merely permitted but encouraged Mr. Beresford's 
fraternal sentiments; though she by no means eschewed 
the world and its frivolity, and gave herself up to solitary 
l'omance. On the contrary, she went out a great deal 
into society, and had frequent receptions at home ; Beres- 
ford being her constant but always unobtrusive com- 
panion. It is difficult to say what motive about this 
time prompted a considerable change in Mr. Schroder's 
manner towards bis Avife ; out some such change un- 
doubtedly took place. It may possibly have been that 
the insufficiency of money as a source of happiness may 
have dawned upon him. steeped as he was to his very 
Hus in constantly-increasing wealth. It may have been 



246 'beoken to harness. 

'that he suddenly awoke to the fact that he was expected 
to lavish something more than generosity on the young 
girl whom he had made the head of his house, and who, 
as he thought, conducted herself with so much propriety. 
This new feeling may have had its germ one night when 
they were sitting in their grand-tier bos at the Italian 
Opera, during the performance of Der Freischiltz ; and as 
the old familiar strains rang through the house, Gustav 
Schroder's memory travelled back for five -and -thirty 
years, and he saw himself a lad of seventeen, seated in 
the pit of a little German theatre by the side of a plump 
little girl, who wore a silver arrow through the great 
knot of her flaxen hair, and down whose cheeks tears 
were rolling as she listened to the recital of Agatha's 
woes. He had loved that plump little Katchen, loved 
her with a boy's pure and ardent passion; and when sent 
to his uncle's counting-house at Frankfort, they had 
parted with bitter tears, and with the exchange of very 
cheap and worthless love-tokens. He wondered what 
had become of that five-groschen piece with the hole 
drilled through it, and the bit of red ribbon. He won- 
dered why he had never loved since those days. And 
then he looked up and saw his pretty, elegant little wife, 
whom every one admired and praised ; and it flashed 
upon him that he had never tried to break through the 
outer crust of staid formality with which business and 
the world had covered him; and he determined to try 
to love and be loved once more. And so Mrs. Schroder, 
beginning to be dreadfully frightened at the incantation 
scene, was astonished to find her hand gently taken in 
her husband's, and on looking up to find his eyes fixed 
on hers. From that time out Gustav Schroder was a 
changed man; he took frequent holidays from business; 
he strove in every way to let his wife see how anxious 
he was for her happiness; and she saw it, and was to a 
certain extent touched by his conduct. It needed all 
Mr. Beresford's sophistry, all his attention and quota- 
tion, the employment of all the art in which he had been 
indoctrinated by his friend Simnel, to make head against 



BARBARA'S FIRST LESSON IN THE MANEGE. 247 

the influence which Gustav Schroder's quiet watchfulness 
and fatherly affection were attaining; for the affection 
was, after all, more fatherly than conjugal in its display. 
Mr. Schroder was far too much a man of the world to 
affect to ignore his age or the result of his life-habits ; 
and no one was better pleased than he to see his wife 
happy among younger and livelier companions. 

A happy influence properly exercised at this time 
would have been immediately beneficial to Alice Schro- 
der, and have brought matters back into the right course. 
For instance, ten minutes' walk with Barbara Churchill 
would have settled the question; for Barbara was to 
Alice that one grand idol whom we all of us (although 
we change them at different periods of our lives) set up 
and worship. And Barbara had not derogated one whit 
from her high position in Alice's estimation by her mar- 
riage. It was exactly the thing that she imagined a girl 
of her friend's high spirit would do, if pressed to it; there 
was something romantic in it, savouring of the legends 
of the high dames of old, who gave themselves to poets 
after scorning kings ; and the whole process entirely 
agreed with certain of the dicta of Mr. Owen Meredith, 
who, as has been explained, was poet-laureate at the 
Schroder court. And Alice called on Barbara, and pet- 
ted her and praised her, and in her silly little way did 
every thing possible to prevent the smallest rapproche- 
ment between them. And then Alice went away, and 
cried in the carriage on her way home, and declared 
that Barbara was cruel and unkind and unjust, and had 
utterly changed in every thing. 

Were these assertions correct? I fear that at all 
events they had a certain proportion of truth. The 
spirit which had induced Barbara Lexden to marry a 
man without money, and of, as her friends thought, in- 
ferior position; which had made her scorn the threats of 
being cast off by those among whom her life had hitherto 
been placed, and to hold to one whom she knew but 
little, yet trusted much,- — -this same spirit made her 
brave the fate to which she had resigned herself, and 



24:8 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

determined that if she repined, it should be in secret 
and unheard. It was a mistake ; that she had already 
confessed to herself with bitter tears many and many a 
time ; done in haste, repented at leisure — the old, old 
story, the old seductive myth, which will find believers 
for ever and aye. How often, brooding in the solitude 
of her chamber, had she gone over the whole business in 
her mind, linking bit to bit, and endeavouring to find 
out where the reality had fallen short of the anticipation! 

They were poor. Well! had she not expected poverty; 
had not Frank told her plainly and honourably of his 
position before he made any declaration? Yes; but she 
did not understand poverty exactly as she had found it. 
She knew that they would not be able to give parties, 
nor to go to the Opera, nor that kind of thing ; but she 
certainly thought that they would go out sometimes, and 
that she should not be stuck at home for ever. Of course 
the people who gave parties had a great deal of expense; 
but those who went to them had none; and it was not 
expected that any newly-married people living in a small 
way should entertain in return. But then Frank, after 
positively refusing to go out a third night running, had 
given way; but had shaken his head, and looked so 
serious over a glove-bill which he happened to see on 
her dressing-table, that she threw on her dressing-gown, 
and bade him go by himself. She did not care about 
going out ; birt if she went, she would be decent ; she 
had always been considered to have a reputation for good 
taste, and nothing on earth should make her a dowdy 
now. She would sooner stay at home always; indeed 
there was little enough to go out for, having to be jolted 
in those horrible cabs, that crawled along the streets, 
with no room for one's dress, and with the certainty of 
being covered with dust or straw, or some dreadful stuff; 
when you got out; and then the insolence of the driver! 

Aid her home? It was small, and dull, and dreary; 
but had she been led to anticipate any thing else? No; 
she supposed not. And yet she wore herself out in those 
gaunt dark rooms, and chafed in her prison like a bird 



BARBARA'S FIRST LESSOX IN THE MANEGE. 249 

in its cage. She had always been a bad correspondent, 
and since her marriage had scarcely written any letters 
at all; but she would sit mooning over the pages of a 
novel, or over the stitches of her embroidery, until book 
or work would fall from her hand; and there she would 
remain, looking intently at nothing, staring vacantly be- 
fore her. Frank caused her to be supplied regularly with 
a copy of the Statesman, and in it she tried to read his 
articles— an honest attempt in which she dismally failed. 
Her aunt had been somewhat of a keen politician, and 
Barbara was sufficiently well informed on the position of 
English parties to bear her share in a dinner-table dia- 
logue ; but foreign affairs principally occupied Frank's 
pen in the Statesman; and after an attempted course of 
reading about Moldo-Wallachia, Schleswig-Holstein, and 
the Principalities, including an immense amount of vir- 
tuous indignation, the reason for which she did not com- 
prehend, and the object of which she could not make out, 
poor Barbara gave it up in despair. She was in the habit 
of glancing occasionally at that portion of the paper in 
which Mr. Henchman chronicled the doings of the fashion- 
able world, and recorded the names of those present at 
great entertainments ; and sometimes when Barbara would 
raise her eyes from the paper and look down the hot vista 
of frowning houses in Great Adullam Street, where dust 
and straw were blowing in a penetrating cloud, and whence 
the dismal howling of itinerant hucksters fell upon the 
car, she, remembering what part she had recently played 
vinong those of whom she had been reading, and con- 
trasting it with her then life, would bite her lip until 
the blood started, and sob bitterly. 

Where was her spirit, do you ask? Has she not been 
represented as a girl of special spirit and pluck ? Did 
not the early-narrated incidents of her career, her very 
marriage, prove this? and is it natural that she should 
break down before petty annoyances such as these? Tb oc e 
questions have been asked; and all I can reply is, that. I 
paint according to my lights and to my experience of 
life; and I believe that there are hundreds of women of 



250 bkoken to harness. 

spirit who would bear the amputation of a ringer with 
more fortitude than the non-arrival of a bonnet, and who 
suffer less in separation from those they dearly love than 
in the necessity for a daily inspection of the bread-pan. 

And Frank, what of him ? Had Barbara been de- 
ceived in him? had she misjudged his heart, his truth, 
his love? Not one whit; and yet how different he seemed! 
Throughout his life, Frank Churchill had acted on im- 
pulse, and had generally pulled through with extraor- 
dinary success. We have seen how, in the railway-jour- 
ney back to Bissett, he had argued with himself, had 
persuaded himself into the determination of leaving the 
place and flying from temptation, and how on the im- 
pulse of a moment he settled the career of his life. To 
say he had repented of that step, would have been un- 
true ; equally false would it have been to say that he had 
not been seriously disappointed in its result. The great 
charm of Barbara Lexden in his eyes had been her dissi- 
milarity from other women. In the quiet circles in which 
he moved, there was no one kin to her; she stood out in 
bold relief among the fussy wives and meek colourless 
daughters of his friends, seeming a being of another 
sphere. And now, strange to say, this very contrast 
which had so captivated him, was his bane. What 
though the wives were fussy; they attended to their 
households with the utmost regularity, investigating the 
smallest matters of domestic detail, keeping down ex- 
penses here, making shift there, and having a comfort- 
able home ready for their husbands wearied out with 
their work. What though the daughters were meek and 
colourless, Avithout a fragment of taste in dress, without 
a spark of spirit, without one atom of dash ; they were 
ready to strum the piano, or to play endless games of 
whist or picquet, when called upon, to enjoy thoroughly 
such little society as they had among themselves, and, in 
fact, to make themselves generally amiable. " Their girls 
did not lollop on the sofa and read trashy novels all day 
long, my dear!" as Mrs. Harding more than once remarked; 
"they were not aristocrats, and couldn't jabber Italian; 



BARBARA'S FIRST LESSON IN THE MANEGE. 251 

but they didn't lie in bed to breakfast, or be always fid- 
dling with their hair, or dressing or undressing them- 
selves twenty times a day. If those were aristocratic 
manners, the less she had of them the better." 

All this talk, and there was much of it perpetually cur- 
rent, reached Frank Churchill's ears through his mother, 
and if it did not render him actually unhappy, at least 
dashed his spirits and checked his joys. He would sit, 
for hours pondering over these things, thinking of his 
past, when he had only himself and his old mother to care 
for, wondering what would have been his future, suppos- 
ing he had married one of the daughters of Mesopotamia, 
and settled down into the snug humdrum life pursued 
by those colonists. And then sometimes Barbara would 
break in upon his reverie, and, looking so brilliantly hand- 
some, would come up and kiss his forehead, and say a few 
loving words untinged by regret or complaint ; and he 
would rejoice in the choice he had made, and thank that 
fortune which had thrown such a treasure in his way. 

There is no doubt that, without in the least degree 
intending it (indeed, what sacrifice had she not made, 
would she not make, for her son?), old Mrs. Churchill 
was a fruitful cause of the petty dissensions which took 
place between Barbara and her husband. Devoted to 
Frank, to her natural anxiety for his happiness was 
superadded an invincible jealousy of the woman who 
had supplanted his mother in his regard, or at least had 
pushed her from the highest position therein. Against 
the actuations of this feeling the old lady strove with all 
her strength, and made great way; but, like many other 
intending victors, she imagined the day gained before 
the enemy had been thoroughly repulsed, and then, neg- 
lecting her outposts, laid herself open to an irresistible 
attack. At first Frank laughed away all these remarks, 
telling his mother that the difference of age between her 
and Barbara, the difference of their lives and bringing 
up, the difference in the style of the present time and 
the days when .Mrs. Churchill lived in the world, caused 
her to think the young wife's proceedings singular, and 



252 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

her demeanour odd. But scape cadendo, by constant tri- 
turation the old lady's notions got grafted into his brain, 
and most of the weary self-communings and self-tortur- 
iugs which Frank had, sprung from his mother's unin- 
tentional planting. 

One day about noon old Mrs. Churchill knocked at 
the door of Frank's little study, and entering found her 
son hard at work on an article he was preparing for a 
review. The old lady seemed in great spirits, kissed her 
son most affectionately, and said: " Busy as ever, Frank 
my darling? As I often used to say, you'll grow to your 
desk one day, you stick at it so — at least you used to 
when I lived with you; I don't know much of what you 
do now;" and she gave a little sigh, made doubly ap- 
parent by an attempt to stifle it, as she sat down. 

"Why, mum, what nonsense!" said Frank; "you see 
as much of me as any body now — as much as Barbara, at 
all events." 

" Oh, by the way, how is Barbara?" 

"Well, not very brilliant this morning; she's got one 
of her headaches, and I persuaded her to breakfast in bed." 

" Ah, she didn't take much persuading, I fancy. The 
young girls nowadays are very different from what I re- 
member them ; but she'd be tired, poor child, waiting up 
for you last night." 

" She did no such thing, I'm delighted to say," said 
Frank, smiling, "as I had to write upon the result of 
the debate, and didn't get home until nearly three 
o'clock. Poor Barbara was sound asleep at that time, 
and had been so for some hours." 

"Ah, ever since her visitor went away, I suppose?" 

" Her visitor? What visitor?" 

"Didn't she tell you? How odd! I called in last 
evening for a volume of Blunt on the Pentateuch, and 
found Captain Lyster here chatting. How odd that 
Barbara didn't mention it!" 

" She was too sleepy both last night and this morn- 
ing, I imagine," said Frank: "she has frequently told 
me of his visits." 



ItAKI'.AIiA'S Flit ST LEKSOX IX THE MAXEGF. l>5o 

" Oh, ves, he calls here very often." 

" He's ii very pleasant fellow," said Frank. 

" Is her" said the old lady, in rather acrid tones. " I 
didn't think you knew him." 

"Not know him!" exclaimed Frank; "why, mother 
dear, how on earth should he call here if I didn't know 
him?" 

•• lie might be a friend of your wife's, my dear." 

" But my wife's friends are mine, are they not?" 

" It does not always follow, Frank," said the old 
lady calmly; "besides, I thought if he had been a friend 
of yours, he would have called sometimes when you were 
at home." 

Frank looked up quickly with a flushed face; then 
said, "What nonsense, mum! the man is an old friend 
of Barbara's, and comes at such times as are most con- 
venient to himself. You don't understand the set of 
people he lives with, mum." 

"Very likely not, my dear; and I'm sure I'm not 
sorry for it; for they seem strange enough; at least to a 
quiet old-fashioned body like myself, who was taught 
never to receive male friends when my husband— how- 
ever, that's neither here nor there." And Mrs. Churchill 
bustled out. 

When Barbara came down to luncheon, Frank said 
to her, " I hear yon had Captain Lyster here, last night, 
Barbara." 

"Oh, yes," she replied, "I forgot to tell you; he sat 
here some time." 

"He comes pretty frequently, doesn't he?" 

"I don't know," said Barbara, looking up; "I never 
counted the number of times; you always hear when he 
has been." 

" I wish you'd do something for me, Barbara," sai<] 
Frank. 

'• Well, what is it?" 

" Just tell Lyster it would be better if he could con- 
trive to call when I'm at home." 

'• Why?" asked Barbara pointedly. 



254 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" Why — well — upon my word — I scarcely know why 
■ — except that people talk, you know; and it's better — 
eh? don't you think?" stammered Frank. He had acted 
on impulse again, and felt confoundedly ashamed of 
himself. 

" I distinctly decline to do any thing of the sort. I 
wonder, Frank, you're not ashamed to propose such a 
thing to me; but I can see what influence has been at 
work." 

" There has been no influence at all ; only I choose — " 

" And / choose that you should find a fitter person 
than your wife to deliver insulting messages to your 
friends!" 

"Barbara, suppose I were to insist upon your not 
Receiving this man again?" 

"You had better not, Frank," said she, moving 
towards the door; "you don't know whom you have ta 
deal with." And she swept out of the room. 

And this was Barbara's first lesson in the manage. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

A GARDEN-PARTY AT UPLANDS. 

Although it was only in the first clays of July, it had 
become thoroughly evident that the London season was 
on the wane. After a lengthened period of inaction, 
there had been a fierce parliamentary struggle brought 
about by that rising young gladiator Mr. Hope Ennythink, 
who had impeached the Prime Minister, brought the 
gravest charges against the Foreign Secretary, accused 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer of crass ignorance, and 
riddled with ridicule the incompetence of the First Lord 
of the Admiralty. As Mr. Hope Ennythink spoke with 
a certain amount of cleverness and a great amount of 
brass, as he was thoroughly up in all the facts which he 
adduced, — having devoted his life to the study of Han- 
sard, and being a walking edition of that popular work, 
— and as he was warmly supported by the Opposition, 
whose great leaders thought highly of the young man, 
he ran the Government very hard, and gave the Trea- 
sury-whips a great deal of trouble to secure even the 
slight majority which pulled them through. But im- 
mediately the fight was over, it was evident that the 
session was on the point of closing. There was no more 
excitement; it was very hot weather; and the session 
and the season were simultaneously doomed. However, 
the wives and daughters of the members were deter- 
mined to die hard; there would be at least a fortnight 
before the prorogation of Parliament, and during that 
fortnight dinners, balls, fetes, and opera-visitings were 
carried on with redoubled activity. To a good many, 
condemned to autumnal pinchings and scrapings in a 



256 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

dull country-house, it was the last taste of pleasure until 
next spring. 

Upon the gentlemen attached to the room Xo. 120, 
in the Tin-Tax Office, the general state of affairs was not 
without its effect. Mr. Kinchenton was away for his 
holiday — he generally chose July as the best month for 
little Percy's sea-bathing- — -and he rung the changes 
between Worthing, Bognor, and Littlehampton, in one 
of which places he would be found in an entire suit of 
shepherd's-plaid, and always with a telescope slung round 
him. Mr. Dibb, his liver in a worse state than ever 
with the hot weather, had felt himself compelled to quit 
the pleasant environs of Clapton, where he ordinarily 
resided, and had taken a bedroom at Windmill -Hill, 
Gravesend, whence he came up to his office every morn- 
ing, having immediately established sworn animosity 
with every guard and regular passenger on the Xorth- 
Kent Railway, and having regular hand-to-hand combats 
with the man who sat opposite to him, as to whether the 
window should be up or down — combats commencing at 
Gravesend and finishing at New Cross. Upon Mr. Boppy 
had come a new phase of existence, he having persuaded 
Mrs. Boppy, for the first time since their marriage, to go 
on a visit to some country friends, thus leaving him his 
own master pro tern. And Mr. Boppy availed himself of 
this opportunity to give a bachelor -party, cards and 
supper, at which Mr. Pringle was the master of the 
revels, and they all enjoyed themselves very much, and 
talked about it afterwards to Mr. Boppy; little thinking 
of the unrevealed misery that wretched convivialist was 
enduring on account of his being unable to rid the win- 
dow-curtains of the smell of tobacco-smoke, by which 
Mrs. B. would learn of the past symposium, and would 
" warm" her husband accordingly. Mr. Prescott and 
Mr. Pringle had been going on much the same as usual; 
and Mr. Crump never went out of town because his pay 
was stopped when he was absent from his office, and he 
never had any friends who wished to see him. 

It was a very hot morning, the sun blazed in through 



A GARDEN-PARTY AT UPLANDS. 257 

the windows of No. 120, and upon the head of Mr. Prin- 
gle, who was copying items of account on to a large ruled 
sheet of paper. 

" Item, every horse for draught or burden — item, 
each dog, sheep, swine — I'll be blowed if I'll do any 
more of it," said Mr. Pringle, casting down his pen and. 
rubbing his head. " I must have some soda-water! Pres- 
cott, James, was there too much lemon in Quartermaine's 
punch last night, or was it that the whitebait are grow- 
ing too large to be wholesome? Something was wrong, I 
know! Crump, my boy, you're nearest the cellar ; just 
hand me a bottle of the corrective." 

Mr. Crump certainly was nearest the cellar, which 
was in fact the cupboard which should have been his 
property, but which had been appropriated by Messrs. 
Pringle and Prescott as a soda-water store. 

" That's a good fellow ; now you're up, would you 
mind just handing me a bit of ice out of the basin? 
Thanks ! What a good Crumpy it is ! What's the mat- 
ter, Mr. Dibb?" 

" Can't you be silent for an instant, Mr. Pringle ? 
You are perpetually gabbling. Can't you let us have a 
moment's peace?" 

" I can generally," said Mr. Pringle, with an affecta- 
tion of great frankness; "but, somehow, not this morn- 
ing. I seem to be inspired by this delicious fluid. I 
think I shall write a book called Songs of Soda-water, or 
Lays of the Morning after. That wouldn't be a bad title, 
would it, Dibb?" 

Mr. Dibb took no notice of this beyond glaring at Mr. 
Boppj-, who had laughed; and there was silence for a few 
minutes, broken by Mr. Prescott, who said, "When do 
you go on leave, George?" 

"In September, sir," replied Pringle. "That's the 
genial month when the leaves come off." 

"Where are you going?" 

' ; That depends upon how much tin I've got. It 
strikes me, from the present look-out, that the foreign 
watering-place of Holloway is about as far as I shall be 



258 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

able to get. There's a tightness in the money-market 
that's most infernal." 

" Why don't yon apply to your godfather, old Towns- 
hend? He's always treated you with kindness." 

"Yes; with un-remitting kindness ! wouldn't send me 
a fiver to save me from gaol. Oh, no ! I'll manage some- 
how. When are you going?" 

" Well, I wanted a few days in September myself, if 
I could get away. I've some shooting offered me at Mur- 
ray's." 

" Murray's ? Oh, ah! the parent of that nice little 
girl! je twig. And the Paterfamilias is a jolly old bird, 
isn't he, and likes his drink, and has plenty of money? in 
which case pater-familiarity does not breed contempt." 

"They are old friends of my people, you know; and 
the old gentleman's been very civil to me." 

"Ah! and the young lady hasn't been rude, has she? 
— at least I judged not, from what I saw. She rides 
deuced well; but what a long time she takes to mount! 
and when you had swung her to the saddle, I noticed 
that her reins took an immense deal of arranging!" 

"Don't be an idiot, George! you're always fancying 
things." 

"And you're always fancying girls, and my life's 
passed in keeping you out of scrapes." 

" By the way, do you ever see any thing of — " 

" Of the other? Ah, base deceiver! fickle as the wind, 
or the what's his name! Yes, I've met poor Kitty once 
or twice, and, without any nonsense, she looked tho- 
roughly seedy and worn." 

" Poor dear Kitty, I'm so sorry! I — " 

"Oh, yes, we know all about it; 'he loves and he 
rides away,' and all the rest of it. But, joking apart, 
Master Jim, it's a very good thing that business is over. 
I was really afraid at one time you were going to grief. 
But — hollo! for me?" These last words thrown off at a 
tangent to a messenger who entered the room with a 
letter. 

"No, sir; for Mr. Prescott." 



A GARDEN-PARTY AT UPLANDS. 259 

"Ah! I don't like letters generally; but that's not 
a blue one, and looks tolerably healthy. What's it about, 
James?" 

" Read for yourself;" and Mr. Prescott tossed the let- 
ter over to him. 

"Mrs. Schroder — garden fete — Uplands," said Prin- 
gle, reading. "Oh, ah! I knew all about that, but I 
didn't mention it, because I wasn't sure that you'd be 
asked ; and as a certing persing is going, you'd have been 
as mad as a hatter at losing the chance of meeting her." 

"What's Uplands?" asked Prescott. 

" Uplands is no end of a jolly place which Schroder 
lias taken for the summer and autumn. He has got some 
tremendous operation in the mines, or the funds, or some 
of those things that those City fellows get so brutally 
rich with; and he must be in town two or three times 
a week. So instead of going to Switzerland, as he in- 
tended, he has rented Uplands, which is about seven 
miles from town, and might be seventy. Out north way, 
through Whittington; stunning Italian villa, fitted up 
no end, with conservatories, and big grounds, and a lake, 
and all sorts of fun. Belonged to another City buffer, 
who's over-speculated himself and gone to Boulogne. 
That is a comfort; they do go to smash sometimes; but 
even then they've generally settled as much as the Chief 
Commissioner's income on their wives. Schroder heard 
of this; pounced upon it at once; and this is to be Mrs. 
Schroder's first garden-party." 

" I'm very glad I'm asked, if — " 

"Glad you're asked! I should think so; it'll be a 
first-rate party. There'll be no shy ices or Cape cup; 
Gunter does the commissariat ; the Foreign Office has 
been instructed to send a lot of eligible Counts; and 
Edgington will supply the marquee." 

" I was going to say, when you were kind enough to 
interrupt me, that I'm glad I'm asked, if Miss Murray is 
to be there." 

" She'll be there, sir, fast enough ; and you shall de- 
vote yourself to her, and be the Murray's Guide; and I'll 



260 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

be your courier, and go before you to see that all is 
square. I mean to enjoy myself that day, and no mis- 
take." 

"This is the place, Jim!" said Mr. Pringle, as on 
ihe day of the party they drove in a hansom along a 
,/neadow-bordered road some two miles the country side 
of the little village of Whittington. " That's the house, 
that white building with the high tower; no end of a 
smoke-room that tower makes! it's fitted up with lounges 
and Indian matting; all the windows hook outwards, and 
there's a view all over every where! "What a lot of traps, 
too ! — like the outside of the Star and Garter on a Sun- 
day afternoon. That's the Guards' drag, I suppose; I 
know there was a lot of them coming down — " 

"And there's old Murray's carriage; I'd know that 
»ny where," interrupted Prescott. 

"Is it? well, then, you'll be all right. Easy, cabby; 
we don't want to be thrown into the very midst of the 
aristocracy; we'll get out here, and walk quietly up." 

Mr. Pringle had by no means given an exaggerated 
description of the beauties of Uplands. The house stood 
on the brow of the hill, under which nestled the little 
village of Whittington, the only cluster of buildings 
within a couple of miles' range. All round it lay large 
meadows, through which flowed, in tiny silver thread, 
the river Brent; while far away on the horizon lay a 
thick heavy cloud betokening the position of Babylon 
the Great. In the house the rooms, though somewhat 
low, were large and cheerful, and the grounds were laid 
out in every variety of exquisite taste. There were broad 
lawns, whereon the croquet-players loved to linger; and 
noble terraces, where the elderly people sat, sheltered 
alike from the sun and the wind; and dark winding 
shady walks, down which, at the close of evening, couples 
would be seen stealing, and being questioned on their 
return, would declare that they had been to see the 
syringa, — a statement which was invariably received 
with derision, or, as the poet hath it, " Doubts would 



A GARDEN-PARTY AT UPLANDS. 261 

be muttered around, and the name be suggested of 
Walker." And there was a large lake with a real Ve- 
netian gondola upon it, very black and gloomy, and tho- 
roughly realising the notion of a "coffin clapt in a canoe," 
and a large light shallop with an awning, and a couple 
of outriggers and a water-quintain for those people who 
preferred athletics to ease, and sunstrokes to comfort. 

"This is the right sort of thing, isn't it, my boy?" 
said Mr. Pringle, as they passed along. " I suppose you 
could put up with a crib like this, couldn't you? What 
a lot of people! every body in London here! How do, 
doctor? Dr. Prater, very good little party; took me be- 
hind the scenes at the Opera once, and gave me a certifi- 
cate when I wanted sick-leave. See that tall man in the 
fluffy white hat? Mincing-Lane fellow merchant ; named 
Hill; capital fellow, but drops his h's awfully. They call 
him the Malade Imaginaire, because he calls himself 'ill 
when he isn't. That's his wife in the black dress with 
white spots on it, like change for a sovereign. Those two 
tall fellows are in the Second Life-Guards. Look at the 
nearest one to us, that's Punch Oroker; don't he look 
like an ape? I always long to give him a nut: the other 
man's Charley Greville, a very good fellow; they tell a 
capital story about him. His uncle was a tremendous 
old screw, who left Charley his heir. When the will was 
read, the first clause contained the expression of a hope 
that his debts would not be paid. Charley had a copy 
of this clause sent round to all the creditors, with an in- 
dorsement that he, as executor, would religiously fulfil the 
desire of the deceased. There was a terrible scrimmage 
about it, and the lawyers are at it now, I believe." 

" Isn't this our man — Beresford?" 

" Of course it is, and there's Mr. Schroder close by 
him. We'll go up and make our salaams." 

So the young men wound through the crowd, and 
were very cordially received by Mrs. Schroder, and in- 
deed by Mr. Beresford. For the Commissioner knew 
his popularity in the Office and was pleased at it, and 
Avas always glad to meet decent-looking men belonging 



262 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

to it in society. " It improved the tone of the con- 
founded place," he used to say. Talking to Mrs. Schro- 
der was Mr. Sergeant Shivers, one of the ornaments of 
the Old-Bailey bar; a tremendously eloquent man in the 
florid and ornate style, with a power of cross-examination 
calculated to turn a witness inside out, and a power of 
address able to frighten the jury into fits; but who 
scorned all these advantages, and was never so happy 
as when talking of and to great people. He was on his 
favourite topic when Prescott and Pringle arrived. 

" Ah, my dear Mrs. Schroder," he was saying, " isn't 
it sad? The duchess herself sent for me, and said, ' Now, 
Mr. Sergeant, speak to him yourself. You have expe- 
rience of life ; above all, you have experience of our 
order. Tell Philip what will be the result of this mar- 
riage with Lady Di !' I promised her grace I would ; 
and I did. I spoke not only to Lord Philip, but to Lord 
Ronald and Lord Alberic, his brothers. But it was no 
good; the marriage has come off, and now the poor 
duchess is in despair. Ah ! there's Lady Nettleford ! I 
must go and condole with her on the affair;" and the 
learned sergeant bowed himself off. 

" Ah ! ' Good-by to the bar and its moaning,' as 
Kingsley says," remarked Mr. Pringle. " What a dreary 
bird! Now I see you're fidgetting to be off, Jim; and I 
know perfectly well why; so we'll go and look after the 
Murray. What a pity she's not got up in red, like her 
namesakes! then we could recognise her a mile off." 

" There she is !" suddenly exclaimed Mr. Prescott. 
" There ! just crossing the end of the croquet-ground. 
I'm off, G-eorge. I shall find you in plenty of time to 
go together;" and Mr. Prescott strode away in great 
haste. 

" Yery good," said Mr. Pringle ; " ' and she was left 
lamenting.' I believe I am in the position of the daugh- 
ter of the Earl of Ullin ; if not, why not ? There's no 
fair young form to hang upon me ; man delights me not, 
nor woman either ; so I'll see if there's any moselle-cup 
handy." 



A GARDEN-PARTY AT UPLANDS. 263 

Among those present at the Uplands fete were Frank 
Churchill and Barbara. Alice Schroder had made a great 
point of their coming ; and though at first Barbara re- 
fused, yet her husband so strongly seconded the invita- 
tion, that she at length gave way and consented. It was 
a trying time for Barbara : she knew she would there be 
compelled to meet many of the members of that old set 
amongst which her youth had been passed, and which 
she had so sedulously avoided since her marriage, and 
she was doubtful of her reception by them. Not that 
that would have distressed Barbara one jot ; she would 
have swept past the great Duchess of Merionethshire 
herself with uplift eyebrows and extended nostrils ; but 
she knew that Frank was horribly sensitive, and she 
feared lest any of his sympathies should be jarred. More- 
over, she felt certain that Captain Lyster would be at 
the Uplands; and though since the day of the little out- 
break his name had not been mentioned, and all having 
been made up with a kiss had gone smoothly since, Bar- 
bara had an inward dread that the sight of him would 
arouse Frank's wrath and lead to mischief. However, 
they came. Barbara was very charmingly dressed ; and 
if her face were a little pale and her expression somewhat 
anxious, her eye was as bright and her bearing as proud 
as ever. Alice Schroder received her in the warmest 
manner, kissed her affectionately, and immediately after- 
wards without the slightest intention planted a dagger in 
her breast, by expressing delight at " seeing her among 
her old friends again." " These old friends" — i.e. persons 
whom she had been in the habit of constantly meeting 
in society, and who had envied and hated her — were 
gathered together in numbers at Uplands, and all said 
civil things to Barbara; indeed, the great Duchess of 
Merionethshire actually stepped forward a few paces — a 
condescension which she very rarely granted, — and after 
welcoming Barbara, begged that Mr. Churchill might be 
presented to her, " as a gentleman of whom she had 
heard so much." Barbara rather opened her eyes at 
this ; but after the presentation it was explained by the 



264 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

duchess saying, " My son-in-law, Lord Hailey, has often 
expressed his recognition of the services rendered to him 
by your pen, Mr. Churchill." For Lord Hailey was 
Foreign Secretary at that time, and certainly gave Chur- 
chill plenty of opportunities of defending him. And as 
they moved away, Barbara heard the duchess say, " What 
a fine-looking man!" and Mr. Sergeant Shivers, who was 
thoroughly good-natured, began loudly blowing the trum- 
pet of Frank's abilities. So that Barbara was happier 
than she had been for some time; and her happiness was 
certainly not decreased by seeing that the cloud had left 
Frank's brow, and that he looked in every way his former 
self. 

"Now, Barbara," said Alice Schroder, approaching 
them, "we are getting up two new croquet sets, and 
want members for each. You'll play, of course ? I re- 
collect how you used to send me spinning at Bissett — 
oh, by the way, have you heard ? poor dear Sir Marma- 
duke, so ill at Pau, or somewhere — " 

" 111 ? Sir Marmaduke ill ?" 

" Yes, poor dear ! isn't it sad ? And Mr. Churchill 
will play too; but not on the same side. I can't have 
you on the same side; you're old married people now; 
and both such good players too ! Let me see ; Captain 
Lyster, will you take Mrs. Churchill on your side ?" 

Captain Lyster bowed, shook hands, and expressed 
his delight. Frank Churchill shook hands with Lyster; 
but as he did so, a flush passed over his face. 

"Now, then, that set is full," said Mrs. Schroder; 
" who is the captain of the other set, playing at the 
other ground ? oh, you, Mr. Pringle ! Will you take Mr. 
Churchill away with you; you only want one, I think?" 

" No, madam," said Pringle, with a serio-comic sigh; 
" I only want one ; but I shall want that one all my 
life. Come along, Mr. Churchill." And he and Frank 
started off to the lower lawn together. 

Barbara had always been very fond of croquet. She 
played well; relying more upon the effectiveness of her 
aim than the result of her calculations. She had a per- 



A GARDEN-PARTY AT UPLANDS. 265 

feet little foot ; and she croqueted her adversaries far 
away with as much science as malice. She enjoyed the 
game thoroughly, as, not having played for months, she 
rejoiced at finding that she retained all her skill; but 
she could not help perceiving that Captain Lyster was 
dull and preoccupied, and that he attended so little to 
the game as to require perpetual reminding when it was 
his turn to play. Indeed, despite all Barbara's exertions, 
they might have lost the game — for their opponents 
were wary and persevering — had it not been for the 
steady play of their coadjutors, Mr. Prescott and Miss 
Murray, who evinced a really remarkable talent for keep- 
ing close together, and nursing each other through all 
the difficult hoops. At length they won with flying 
colours, and were going to begin a new game, when 
Captain Lyster said, " Mrs. Churchill, I should be so 
grateful for a few minutes' talk with you on a really 
important subject. Please, don't play again, but let us 
stroll." Barbara had all faith in Fred Lyster's truth 
and honour; she had known him for years, and more 
than half-suspected the secret of his early attachment to 
Alice ; so that she had no hesitation in saying, " Cer- 
tainly, Captain Lyster, if you wish it;" then adding with 
a smile, " You will not miss us much, will you, Mr. Pres- 
cott?" she and the Captain strolled away. 

Then, as they walked, Fred Lyster talked long and 
earnestly. He told Barbara that he addressed her as 
one who, he knew, took the deepest interest in Alice 
Schroder's welfare; indeed, as one who had been as her 
sister in times past. He touched lightly on the disparity 
in age between Alice and her husband, and upon the 
difference in all their habits, tastes, and opinions ; he 
said that she was thus doubtless driven to her own re- 
sources for amusement, and that her utter simplicity and 
childishness made her the easy prey of designing people. 
Then, with the utmost delicacy, he went on to point out 
that for some time Beresford's attentions to Mrs. Schro- 
der had been most marked ; that his constant presence 
«t their house, or in attendance on her when she went 



266 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

out, had attracted attention, and that at length it had 
become common club-gossip. Only on the previous night 
he had heard that it had been publicly discussed in the 
smoke-room of the Minerva; that an old gentleman, an 
old friend of the family, had announced his intention of 
speaking to Mr. Schroder about it. What was to be 
done? He (Lyster), deeply pained at it all, had no au- 
thority, no influence, no right, to mix himself with the 
matter. Would not Mrs. Churchill, in pity for her friend, 
talk seriously with Mrs. Schroder about it? She was 
all-potential. Mrs. Schroder believed implicitly in her, 
and would undoubtedly follow her advice. Would not 
Mrs. Churchill do this, for pity's sake? 

Barbara was very much astonished and very much 
shocked. She had always known Alice to be weak and 
vain and silly ; she knew that her marriage with Mr. 
Schroder had been one made solely at her father's insti- 
gation; but having lived entirely out of the set for the 
last few months, she had no idea of the intimacy with 
Mr. Beresford, whose acquaintance she considered was 
by no means desirable. She was entirely at a loss what 
to do, being of opinion that her influence over Alice had 
all died out. However, if Captain Lyster thought other- 
wise, and if he counselled and urged her taking such a 
step, she would not refuse ; she would take an early op- 
portunity of seeking an interview with Alice, and giving 
that silly girl — silly, and nothing more, she was certain 
— a very serious talking to ; " and then, Captain Lyster, 
let us trust that this horrible gossip will be put a stop 
to." As Barbara said this, she smiled and put out her 
hand. Poor Fred bent over it, and when he raised his 
head to say, " Mrs. Churchill, you will have done an 
angel's work !" there were tears in his eyes. 

Meantime Frank Churchill, with doubt and distrust 
at his heart, engendered by having to leave Barbara in 
company wi r h Captain Lyster, went away with Pringle 
to the lower croquet - ground, where they and others 
played a succession of games with varying success, in all 
of which Frank distinguished himself by ferocious swip- 



A GARDEN-PARTY AT UPLANDS. 26 < 

ing, and Mr. Pringle came to grief in an untimely man- 
ner. At length, when they were tired, Prank and Pringle 
walked away together — the former on the look-out for 
his wife, the latter listening with great deference to such 
scraps of his companion's conversation as he was treated 
with; for Mr. Pringle had a great reverence for "people 
who write books," and, in common with a great many, 
looked upon the production of a something printable as 
an occult art. " It always seems such a rum thing to 
me," said he ingenuously, " how you first think about it, 
and then how you put it down! You write leaders, Mr. 
Churchill, eh? Oh yes, we heard of you at our office, 
the Tin-Tax, you know ! That article in the Statesman 
about old Maddox and his K.O.B.'ship, they all declared 
it was you." 

As Churchill only said " Indeed !" in an absent man- 
ner, and was still looking about him, Pringle proceeded : 
" Oh, of course you won't let it out it was your work — 
we understand that ! but it must be jolly to be able to 
give a fellow one for himself sometimes ! a regular bad 
one, enough to make him drink ! I should think that 
was better fun than novel- writing; though novel- writing- 
must be easier, as you've only got to describe what you 
see. I think I could do that — this afternoon, for in- 
stance, and all the swells and queer people about. The 
worst of it is, you must touch it up with a bit of love, 
and I'm not much of a hand at that ; but I suppose one 
could easily see plenty of it to study from. For instance, 
do you see those two at the end of this walk, under the 
tree ? I suppose that's a spooning match, isn't it ? How 
he is laying down the law ! and she gives him her hand, 
and he bends over it — " 

" Damnation !" exclaimed Churchill. 

•' Hollo !" said Pringle, " what's the matter ?" 

" Nothing !" said Churchill ; " I twisted my foot, that 
was all !" 

Barbara tried several times that evening to meet 



268 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

Frank; but he avoided her; and it was not until they 
were in the fly, that she had an opportunity of speaking 
to him. 

" Where on earth have you been, Frank, all day? I 
hunted and hunted for you, but never succeeded in find- 
ing you." 

He looked up at her: her eyes were sparkling, her 
cheek flushed; she was thoroughly happy. The escape 
from Mesopotamia and its dreariness, the return to scenes 
similar to those which she had been accustomed to, had 
worked immediate change. She looked so radiantly beau- 
tiful that Frank was half-tempted to spare her; but after 
a second's pause, he said, 

" I walked all over the grounds. I was in the shrub- 
bery close by you when Captain Lyster kissed your hand." 

"What!" exclaimed Barbara, with a start. "It is 
beneath me to repel such a calumny; but to satisfy your 
absurd doubt, I tell you plainly you were wrong." 

" Will you tell me," asked Frank, in a sad voice, 
" that he did not walk with you and talk with you apart? 
Can you deny it?" 

"No!" returned Barbara. "He did both walk and 
talk with me ; he had something very special to say to 
me, and he said it." 

" And it was — ?" 

"I cannot tell you; it was told to me in confidence; 
it concerns the reputation of a third person, and I cannot 
mention it, even to you." 

"Then, by the Lord, I'll have an end to this!" said 
Frank, in a sudden access of passion. " Listen here, Bar- 
bara; I'll have ne captains, nor any one else, coming to 
repose confidences with which I'm not to be made ac 
quainted, in my wife ! I'll have no shrubbery-walks and 
whisperings with you! Such things may be the fashion 
in the circles in which you have lived ; but I don't hold 
with them!" 

He could have bitten his tongue out the next in- 
stant, when Barbara said, in an icy voice, " It may be 



A GARDEN-PARTY AT UPLANDS. 269 

the fashion in the circles in which you have lived to 
swear at one's wife, and shout at her so that the coach- 
man hears you ; but I don't hold with it, nor, what's 
more, will I permit it!" 

She never spoke again till they reached home, when 
she stepped leisurely out of the carriage, ignoring Frank's 
proffered arm, and went silently to bed. 



CHAPTER XXY1. 

SHOWING WHO WERE " PIGOTT Am> WELLS." 

Mr. Simnel, the secretary, sat at his desk, hard at work 
as usual, but evidently tempering the dulness of the 
official minutes with some recollections of a lively na- 
ture, as now and then he would put down his pen, and 
smile pleasantly, nursing his knee the while. " Yes," he 
said softly to himself, " I think I'll do it to-day. I've 
waited long enough; now I'll put Kitty on to the scent, 
and stand the racket. Ruat caelum ! I'll ride quietly up 
there this afternoon ;" and he touched the small hand- 
bell, with which he summoned his private secretary. In 
response to this bell, — not the private secretary, who was 
lunching with a couple of friends and discussing the latest 
fashionable gossip, — the door was opened by Mr. Pringle, 
who begged to know his chief's wishes. 

" Eh ?" said Simnel, raising bis head at the strange 
voice; "oh, Grammont at lunch, I suppose? — how do you 
do, Mr. Pringle? I want all the letters brought in at 
once, please ; I'm going away early to-day." 

" Certainly, sir," said Mr. Pringle, who objected on 
principle to interviews with great official swells, such in- 
terviews being generally connected in his mind with re- 
bukes known as " carpetings." " I'll see about it, sir." 

" Thank you, Mr. Pringle. How are all your people? 
bow is Mrs. Schroder? who is your cousin, I think." 

" Yes, my cousin. She's all right ; but I'm sorry to 
say my uncle Mr. Townshend is very ill ; so ill that he 
leaves town for the Continent to-night, and is likely to 
be away some time.'" 

" Dear me! I'm very sorry to hear that." 



" PIGOTT AND WELLS." 271 

" Pact, indeed, sir ! I was thinking, sir," said Mr. 
Pringle, who never missed a chance, " that as Mrs. Schro- 
der may perhaps be rather dull to-morrow after her 
father's gone, I might perhaps have a day's leave of ab- 
sence to be with her." 

" Certainly; by all means, Mr. Pringle! Now send in 
the letters, please." And Mr. Pringle retired into the 
next room, where he indulged in the steps of a comic 
dance popidar with burlesque-actors, and known as a 
" nigger break-down." 

" Going out of town, eh ? likely to be abroad some 
time ! very unwell !" said Mr. Sinmel, nursing his leg ; 
" then I must alter my arrangements. I'll go and see 
him at once, and bring that matter to a head. I can 
deal with Kitty afterwards." And when Mr. Simnel had 
signed all the letters brought in to him, he unlocked his 
desk and took out a paper which he placed in his pocket- 
book ; then carefully locking every thing after him, he 
departed. 

In the Strand he called a cab, and was driven to 
Austin Friars, where he dismounted, and walked up the 
street until he came to a large door, on the posts of 
which were inscribed the words, " Townshend and Co." 
There was no Co., there never had been; Mr. Townshend 
was the entire concern; he was the first of his name who 
had been known in the place, and no one knew his origin. 
He first made his mark in the City as a daring money- 
broker and speculator; two or three lucky hits established 
his fame, and he then became cautious, wary, well-in- 
formed, and almost invariably successful. The name of 
Townshend was highly thought of on 'Change; its owner 
had been invited to a seat in the Bank Direction, and 
had been consulted by more than one Chancellor of the 
Exchequer; he had been a member of the Gresham Club, 
there made acquaintances, who introduced him into the 
True Blue and the No-Surrender, for Mr. Townshend was 
intensely conservative; and by the time his daughter was 
fit to head his table (his wife had died years since), he 
had a set of ancestors on his walls in Harley Street dating 



272 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

from warriors who fought at Ramillies and Malplaquet, 
down to the " civil servant of the Company," who shook 
the pagoda-tree in the East, and from whom, as Mr. 
Townshend said, his first start in life was derived. It 
is doubtful — and immaterial — whether Mr. Simnel knew 
or not of the non-existence of the Co. He asked for Mr. 
Townshend, whether Mr. Townshend was in; and he put 
the question to one of four young gentlemen who were 
writing at a desk, which, if it must be called by its right 
name, was a counter. After a great deal of fencing with 
this youth, who was reading out wild commercial docu- 
ments, such as " Two two four nine, Lammas and Childs 
on National of Ireland — note for dis.," and who declined 
to be interrupted until he had completed his task,— Mr. 
Sironel at length got his name sent in to Mr. Townshend, 
and was shown into the great man's presence. 

Mr. Townshend was seated at a large desk covered 
with papers, which were arranged in the most precise and 
orderly fashion. He was dressed with great precision, in 
a blue body-coat and a buff waistcoat with gilt buttons ; 
his thin hair was brushed up over his temples, and his 
face was thin and pale. He received his visitor some- 
what pompously, and made him a very slight bow. Mr. 
8imnel returned the salute much in the same fashion, 
and said, " You will wonder what has brought me to call 
on you, Mr. Townshend?" 

" I — I am not aware what can have procured me the 
honour of a visit, Mr. — Mr. — " and the old gentleman 
held up Mr. SimnePs card at arm's-length, and looked at 
it through his double eye-glass. 

" Simnel's my name ! I daresay it conveys to you no 
meaning whatsoever ?" 

" Oh, I beg your pardon ! On the contrary, your 
name is familiar to me as that of the secretary of the 
Tin-Tax Office. I am glad to make your acquaintance, 
sir. I often have communication with official men. 
What can I do for you ?" 

" It's in a private capacity that I've come to see 
you," said Mr. Simnel. " I heard you were going out of 



" PIGOTT AND WELLS." 273 

town, and I had something special to talk over with 
you." 

" I must trouble you to be concise and quick," said 
Mr. Townshend, by no means relishing the easy manner 
of his visitor. " As you say, I am going out of town, — 
for the benefit of my health, — and every moment is 
precious." 

" I shall not detain you very long," said Simnel, who 
had begun to nurse his leg, to Mr. Townshend's intense 
disgust. " I suppose we're private here ? You'll excuse 
me ; but you'll be glad of it before I've done. I may as 
well be brief in what I have to say ; it will save both of 
us trouble. To begin with : I'm not by origin a London 
man. I come from Combcardingham ; so do you." 

Mr. Townshend's cheeks paled a little as he said, " I 
came from Calcutta, sir." 

" Yes ; last, I know ; but you went to Calcutta, and 
from Combcardingham." 

" I never was in the place in my life." 

" Weren't you indeed ? then it must have been your 
twin-brother. I know a curious story about him, which 
I'll tell you." 

" If you are come here to fool away my time, sir !" 
said Mr. Townshend, rising. 

" By no means, my dear sir. You don't know me 
personally; but I'll pledge my official reputation that 
the story is worth hearing. I think when I mention the 
names of Pigott and Wells — " 

Down at last— sunk down cowering in his chair, just 
as at the Schroders' dinner, when he heard those dread- 
ful names. 

" Ah, I thought you would remember them. Well, 
Pigott and Wells were wool-merchants of old standing 
in Combcardingham. Pigott had long been dead ; but 
Wells carried on the business of the firm under the old 
name. His solicitors were Messrs. Banner and Blair. 
One day Mr. Banner came to their articled clerk, and 
said to him, ' Robert, I have got an awkward business 
on hand ; but you're a e^arp fellow and can be trusted 

T 



274 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

Old Wells is coming here presently with some one else. 
I shall want a signature witnessed; but I'll get Podmore 
to do that. All you have to do is to keep your eyes 
against that window,' pointing to a pane hidden behind 
a curtain ; ' and mark all you see, specially faces. It 
may be a lesson to you on a future occasion.' " 

" "Well, sir ?" interrupted Townshend. 

" Well, sir, the clerk placed himself as directed, and 
saw old Mr. Wells and a thick-set, dissipated-looking 
man shown into the room. Banner told Mr. Wells he 
was prepared for him, and produced a paper for signa- 
ture; the signer of which, in consideration of Mr. Wells 
consenting to forego prosecuting him for the forgery of 
a bill of 120?. attached to the document, promised to 
leave England and never to return. You're interested 
now; I thought you would be. Podmore was called in, 
and witnessed the dissipated young man sign the paper; 
hut he knew nothing of its contents. Then old Wells, 
raising his shaking forefinger, said, ' For your poor mo- 
ther's sake, sir; not for yours !' and the dissipated-look- 
ing man drew a long breath, as though a great weight 
were off his mind, and strode out. The articled clerk 
saw all this, and marked the features of the forger; he 
did not see him again for many years. He sees him 
now !" 

" What do you mean ?" 

" Simply, that you were the forger, I the clerk !" 

" But that paper — that horrible confession, and the 
bill, they are destroyed ! Wells swore he would destroy 
them before his death !" 

" He intended to do so, but he died suddenly, poor 
old man; and in going through his desk I found them. 
I've got them here !" 

"And what use are they to you? What harm are 
they to me? I shall swear — " 

"Stop a minute! Podmore is alive; he's got Ban- 
ner and Blair's business in Combcardingham now; he 
would verify his signature any day, and yours too. No ; 
I fairly tell you I've thought of it all for several years, 



"ncoTT and wells." 275 

and I don't see your loophole. I think I've got you 
tight!" And Mr. Simnel smiled pleasantly as he squeezed 
his thumb and forefinger together, as though he were 
choking a rabbit. 

Mr. Townshend was cowering in his chair, and had 
covered his face with his hands. When he raised it, he 
was livid. " What do you wantP^money?" 

" No," said Simnel, " not exactly. Oddly enough, I 
want nothing at present! I merely wanted, as you were 
going out of town, to set matters straight, and let us 
understand each other before you left. I'll let you know 
when I really require you to do something for me, and 
you'll not fail, eh?" These last words rather sharply. 

" In all human — I mean — in a — " and the old man 
stammered, broke down, and threw himself back in his 
chair, sobbing violently. 

" Come, come !" said Simnel; " don't take on so ! 
You'll not find me hard; but you know in these days 
one must utilise one's opportunities. There, good-by! 
you won't forget my name; and I'll write here when I 
want you," 

And he touched, not unkindly, the shrinking old 
man's shoulder, and went out. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

WEAVING THE WEB. 

In his well-deserved character of prudent campaigner, 
Mr. Simnel took no immediate steps to avail himself of 
the signal advantage which he had gained in his inter- 
view with Mr. Townshend. That eminent British mer- 
chant went abroad, and his name was recorded among a 
choice sprinkling of fashionables as honouring the steam- 
ship Baron Osy, bound for Antwerp, with their presence, 
and, on the " better-day-better-deed" principle, selecting 
the Sunday as the day of their departure. Mr. Simnel 
read the paragraph with a placid smile ; he had seen 
sufficient of Mr. Townshend in that interview to guess 
that his illness was merely the result of care and worry, 
and that there was no reason to apprehend his proximate 
death. Antwerp — doubtless thence Brussels, the Rhine, 
and perhaps Switzerland — would make a pleasant tour; 
and as for any idea of escape, he knew well enough that 
that thought had never crossed Mr. Townshend's mind. 
The old gentleman knew he would have to pay the pos- 
sessor of his secret heavily in one way or another, but in 
what he was as yet totally ignorant; besides, his business 
engagements in London utterly prevented all chance of 
his retiring in any sudden manner. And so Mr. Simnel 
remained quietly at his post at the Tin-Tax Office, ap- 
parently not taking any notice of any thing save the 
regular business routine, but in reality intent on his 
earnest cat-like watching of all around him, and always 
ready to pull any string at what he considered the pro- 
per opportunity. 

He kept his eyes on Mr. Beresford, and knit his eye- 
brows very much as he contemplated that gentleman's 



WEAVING THE WEB. 277 

proceedings. Whether prompted by anxiety for the fate 
of his eight-hundred pounds loan or by some other occult 
reason, Mr. Simnel had been specially watchful over the 
Commissioner, and urged upon him to bring the specu- 
lation in which he had embarked to a prosperous close. 
"With this view he had dissuaded Beresford from going 
to Scotland, whither, as usual, he was bound on his 
autumnal excursion; representing to him that- he had of 
late been very lax in his attendance; that he had had 
much more leave of absence than any of his brother 
commissioners; that Sir Hickory Maddox had once or 
twice referred to the subject in any thing but a compli- 
mentary manner ; and that the best thing he could do 
to stave off an impending row would be to volunteer to 
stop in town, and let the other members of the board 
have a chance of running away in the fine weather. At 
this suggestion Mr. Beresford looked very black and 
waxed very wroth, and couldn't see why the deuce, and 
on his oath couldn't tell the necessity, &c. ; but relented 
somewhat when his friend pointed out to him that there 
was no necessity for his attending more than twice a 
tveek at the office, just to sign such papers as were 
pressing ; and that instead of remaining in his South- 
Audley- Street lodgings, he could go out and take rooms 
at a beautiful little inn in the village of Whittington, 
where there was a glorious cook, a capital cellar, beau- 
tiful air, splendid prospect, and above all, which was 
twenty minutes' canter from the Uplands, Schroder's 
summer place. To this plan Mr. Beresford consented ; 
and after asking for a further loan of fifty, and getting 
five-and-twenty, from Simnel, Beresford and his mare 
Gulnare were domesticated at the Holly Bush, and he 
prepared to make play. 

But somehow the state of affairs did not please Mr. 
Simnel. One day, when he and Mr. and Mrs. Schroder 
were Beresford's guests, he seemed specially annoyed ; 
and on the next occasion of his friend's visiting the 
office, he took the opportunity of speaking to him. 

'• I want to say a word to you, Master Charles," said 



278 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

he, entering the board-room and addressing Beresford, 
who was stretched on the sofa reading the Post, and 
envying the sportsmen whose bags were recorded therein. 
" I want to know how you're getting on." 

" Getting on ! in what way ?" asked Beresford, put- 
ting down the paper and lazily looking round ; " as re- 
gards money, do you mean ? because, if so, I could take 
that other five-and-twenty from you with a great amount 
of satisfaction." 

"You're very good," said Simnel, with a sardonic 
grin ; " but I'd rather not. I'm afraid you've been try- 
ing some of Dr. Franklin's experiments with kites again 
recently; at all events, I've seen several letters addressed 
to you in Parkinson's — of Thavies Inn, I mean — hand- 
writing; which looks any thing but healthy. However, 
I didn't mean that; I meant in the other business — 
the great venture." 

" Oh," said Beresford, "that's all right." 

" I'm glad to hear it. Satisfactory, and all that sort 
of thing, eh ?" 

" Perfectly. "Why do you ask ?" 

" Well, to tell you the truth." said Simnel, with that 
kind of honest bluntness, that inexpressible frankness, 
generally assumed by a man who is going to say some- 
thing disagreeable, " I had an idea that it was quite the 
opposite. When we dined with you the other day, — ■ 
deuced good dinner it was too ; I was right to recom- 
mend you there, wasn't I ? I haven't tasted- such spitch- 
cocked eels for years; and that man's moselle has a finer 
faint flavour of the muscat than any I know in England, 
— when we dined with you, as I say, I fancied things were 
all wrong with the lady. I talked to the old boy, as in 
duty bound, and listened to all his platitudes about the 
influence of money — as though I didn't know about that, 
good lord ! But the whole time I was listening, and 
chiming in here and there with such interjections as I 
thought appropriate, I kept my eye on you and madam; 
and from what I saw, I judged it wasn't all plain- 
Bailing. I was right ; wasn't I ?" 



WEAVING THE WEI!. 279 

""Well," said Mr. Beresford, between his teeth, "you 
were, and that's the truth. We've come to grief some- 
how; but how, I can hardly tell. It was going on splen- 
didly ; I had followed all your instructions to the letter, 
and, in fact, I was thoroughly accepted as her brother, 
when she suddenly veered round; and though I can't 
say she's been unkind, yet she has lost all that warmth 
that so pleasantly characterised her regard ; and now, I 
think, rather avoids me than otherwise." 

" You've not overdone it, have you ? Not been 
lapsing into your old style of flirtation, and — " 

" No ; on my honour, no. I rather think some of 
her friends have been putting the moral screw on. You 
recollect a Miss Lexden — Mrs. Churchill that is now ?" 

" Perfectly ! But she would not be likely to object 
to a flirtation." 

"Not as mademoiselle, but as madame she has 
rangeed herself, and I believe her husband is a straight- 
laced party. She was up at Uplands for a couple of 
days, and rather snubbed me when I presented myself 
there in my fraternal character. I've been putting things 
together in my mind, and I begin to think that Mrs. 
Schroder's coldness dated from Mrs. Churchill's visit." 

" Likely enough. I daresay Mrs. Churchill goes in 
tremendously now for all the domestic virtues. If a 
reformed rake makes the best husband, a penitent flirt 
ought to make the best wife ; and, by all accounts, Miss 
Barbara Lexden was a queen of the art. I hear that she 
and her husband lead a perpetually billing-and-cooing 
existence, like a pair of genteelly-poor turtles, in some 
dovecot near Gray's Inn." 

" That man Lyster's been a good deal to the house 
lately, too. I always hated that fellow, and I know he 
hates me ; he looks at me sometimes as though he could 
eat me. Schroder seems to have taken a fancy to him ; 
and I sometimes half fancy that he has a kind of spoony 
attachment to Mrs. Schroder — if you recollect, I told you 
I thought he was after her when we were all down at 
Bissett— though I don't think very much of that. I'll 



280 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

tell you what it is, Simnel," continued Mr. Beresford, in 
a burst of confidence, struggling up into a sitting position 
on the sofa, and beating his legs with the folded news- 
paper as he spoke, " I'm getting devilish sick of all this 
dodging and duffing, and I've been thinking seriously of 
calling my creditors together, getting them to take so 
much a-year, and then going in quietly and marrying 
Kate Mellon after all." 

Mr. Simnel's face flushed but for an instant ; it was 
its normal colour when he said, 

" You're mad ! You, with the ball at your foot, to 
think of such a course ! So much a-year, indeed ! Butch- 
ers and bakers do that sort of thing, I believe, when 
they've been let in; but not forty -per -cent men; not 
money-lending insurance-offices. Breathe a hint of your 
state, and they'd be down upon you at once, and sell you 
up like old sticks. Besides, you couldn't come to any 
arrangement with your creditors without its leaking out 
somehow. It would get into those infernal trade-circu- 
lars, or protection-gazettes, or whatever they're called ; 
and if the Bishop or Lady Lowndes heard of it, all your 
chances of inheriting in either of those quarters would 
be blown to the winds. As to — to Kate Mellon, you 
may judge how your alliance with her would please 
either of the august persons I have named." 

" Jove ! you're right," said Beresford, biting his 
nails. 

"Right, of course I am; and here you've only to 
wait, and an heiress — a delightful little creature to boot 
—is absolutely thrown into your arms. You're a child. 
Charley, in some things, — you clever men always have a 
slate off somewhere, you know, — and in business you're 
a positive child. Can't you see that yours must be a 
waiting race ? — that you mustn't mind being hustled, 
and bothered, and cramped, at the beginning, but must 
always keep your eyes open for your chance, and then 
make the running ? The least impetuosity, such as you 
hint at, would throw away every hope, and destroy a 
very excellently planned scheme. Oh, you needn't wince 



WEAVING THE WEB. 281 

afc the word ; we are all schemers in. lo ye, as well as in 
every thing else, if we only acknowledged it." 

•• Then you counsel my keeping on still, and endea- 
vouring to regain my influence ?" 

" Certainly ; by all means. It will come back, never 
fear. And look here, Charley ; don't fall into that hor- 
ribly common and vulgar error of abusing the people 
who are supposed to be thwarting your plans. Be spe- 
cially kind, on the contrary, in all you say of them. 
This Captain Lyster, for instance, I should proclaim, if I 
were you, a thorough gentleman — a preux chevalier of a 
type now seldom seen — a man evidently smothering an 
unhappy passion for — for — any body but Mrs. Schroder. 
Wouldn't the other one do ? Mrs. Churchill, I mean." 

" Do! What do you mean? There used certainly to 
be a flirtation between them at one time, and — " 

" Quite enough. Only keep Mrs. Schroder from the 
notion that Lyster is spooning her; for that's enough at 
once to turn her silly little thoughts to him. Speak 
kindly of every one ; and don't show the smallest signs 
of weariness, depression, or discouragement." 

When Mr. Simnel returned to his own room, he set- 
tled himself down into his chair, and fell to nursing his 
leg and thinking, with the old sinister smile on his face. 

" He's not the easiest fellow in the world to deal with 
— Beresford! At least, he'd be difficult to some; but I 
think I've got him in hand. Wants every thing to run 
slick off the reel at once, the idiot! As though any great 
coup had ever been pulled off', save by waiting, and watch- 
ins', and patience. Marry Kate Mellon, indeed!" and here 
Mr. Sirrmel's fingers, intertwined across his knee, cracked 
as he pulled at them—" marry Kate Mellon, and with 
such a damned air of patronage too ! No, my young- 
friend, never ! You held a trump-card there, and you 
neglected to play it; and in my game there's no re- 
voking. I must see Kitty, and look how the land lies. 
I think I've stalled Master Charley off for some little 
time; and it's no use bringing about an eclaircissement 



2S2 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

of the Schroder business; which Kitty would be safe to do 
as soon as she had any tangible proofs. Then I should 
lose my eight hundred pounds in Charley Beresford's 
general and helpless smash. But I'd sooner drop them 
than miss my chance of Kitty. Slippery, though — slip- 
pery as the deuce!" and Mr. Simnel put his elbow on his 
knee, and his face into his hand, and sat plucking at his 
chin : " hankers after Beresford, no doubt, — I think has 
a liking for that young Prescott; but that I'll put a stop 
to to-day, — and I suppose only thanks me for my kind- 
ness. And yet I can put the finishing stroke to the whole 
thing in one moment; only want the one connecting-link 
and the story's complete ; and then I'll take my oath 
she'll have me. I'll ride up there this afternoon, and 
just see how the land lies." 

In accordance with this determination, Mr. Simnel 
that afternoon mounted his thoroughbred and cantered 
off to The Den. He found the mistress of the house at 
home, seated on a rustic seat, in a little grass-plot in 
front of the drawing-room window, with a carriage- whip 
in her hand, with which she was flicking the heads off 
such flowers as were within reach. She had evidently 
just come in from a drive, for she still wore her bonnet 
and black-lace shawl, though the former was perched on 
the top of her head, to keep off the sun, while the latter 
hung trailing down her back. She had altered in appear- 
ance, and not for the better : her eyes were unnaturally 
bright; her cheeks sunken, and marked here and there 
with hectic patches. Simnel gave his horse to a groom, 
and walked up the garden-path. Kate Mellon looked up 
at the sound of his advancing footsteps; at first vacantly 
enough, but when she recognised him, she roused herself, 
and got up to meet him. 

" How are you, Simnel?" she said, with outstretched 
hand. " I was thinking of you only to-day, and wonder- 
ing what had become of you. It's ages since you've been 
up here." 

" I've been very busy, Kate, and been unable to come. 
Tou know my wish is to come as frequently as possible; 



WEAVING THE WEB. 283 

oil, you needn't shake your head, because you are quite 
certain of it ; but that's neither here nor there. I keep 
to my portion of the contract, and sha n l not bore you 
about myself until I've shown you I've a right to ask 
you to listen to me. And now, how are you, and what 
are you doing? To tell truth, I don't think you look 
very bonny, young woman: a little dragged, eh? End of 
the season, perhaps?" 

" Oh, I'm all right !" said Kate, hurriedly; " never 
better in health, and jolly; that's the great point, isn't 
it, Simnel, eh ? I'm learning to look after number one, 
you know; and when you can do that, you're all right, 
ain't you? Have some lunch? No? then look here; I've 
got something you must taste, — some wonderful Madeira. 
Oh, all right; I know it'll put some colour into your 
cheeks, and do you good." 

She called to a passing servant, and the wine was 
brought, — rare old tawny, full-bodied, mellow Madeira, — 
such wine as is now to be met in about a dozen houses 
in the land, and utterly different from the mixture of 
mahogany-shavings and brandy which is sold under its 
name. Simnel poured out two half-glasses ; but Kate 
took the decanter from him, filled her glass to the brim, 
and nodding to him, drank off half its contents. 

"Ala!" said she, with a long-drawn inspiration; " that's 
the stuff! No nonsense in that, you know; doesn't pre- 
tend to be what it isn't, and can't deceive you. Tom 
Gillespie sent me a lot of that: found no end of it in the 
cellars of his old uncle, the East-India Director, whose 
tin he came in for. I find it does me good, steadies my 
nerve, and gives me fresh life. What are you shaking 
your head at?" 

" It's dangerous tipple, Kate. I don't like to hear 
you talk like that. Your nerves used to be as strong 
as steel, without any steadying. I say, Kitty," said Mr. 
Simnel with a grave face; "you're not giving way to this 
sort of thing for — " 

" For what ?" interrupted Kate, with a discordant 
laugh; "for comfort? Oh, no, thank you; I don't want 



284 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

that yet: I don't want to drown my sorrows in the bowl. 
I haven't got any sorrows, and I shouldn't do that with 
them if I had. By the way, Simnel, how is that affair 
going on, — you know what I mean ? You promised to 
let me know." 

" I believe it stands very much the same as it did," 
said he. 

" Then it hasn't worn out yet ? he isn't tired of it, 
*h?" she asked eagerly. 

"No; it still goes on." 

" You promised to tell me the woman's name, Simnel; 
why haven't you clone so ? You pretend friendship for 
me, and then you keep things from me that I ought to 
know; and you don't come and see me, and, — There, I 
don't believe in you a bit !" 

" I keep things from you until the proper time for 
you to know them. I don't come and see you, because 
all the leisure time I have had has been devoted to your 
interests; and, by the way, Kate, that, brings me to the 
occasion of my present visit. I suppose you give me 
credit for sincerity — " 

"Oh, ah; well, what then?" 

" I mean that you believe in me sufficiently to think 
that any step I should take, any question I should ask. 
would not be out of mere idle curiosity; but because I 
thought they would be beneficial to you?" 

She nodded her head, and stretched her hand towards 
the decanter; but seeing.Simnel frown, she stopped short, 
took up the whip which lay close by, and commenced 
flicking the flowers again. 

" I want to ask you about your people," — the girl 
started; — "who they are; where you came from; what 
you know of them." 

" You know all that fast enough,— from Yorkshire, — 
you've heard me say before. What more's wanted to be 
known? I pay my way, don't I, and who does more? 
I'm not required to show my christening certificate to 
every one that wants a horse broke, I suppose?" 

"What a fiery child it is!" said Simnel. "No one 



WEAVING THE WEB. 285 

has a right to ask any thing at all about it, — I least of 
all; hut I think, — and I am not sanguine, you know, — 
that I shall be able, if you will confide in me, to help 
you very greatly in the most earnest wish of your life." 

•' Stop !" exclaimed Kate ; " do you know what that 
is ?'' 

" I think I do," said Simnel, looking at her kindling 
eyes, quivering nostril, and twitching lips. 

•• If not, I'll tell you ; I don't mind telling you : re- 
venge on Charles Beresford ! revenge ! revenge !" and 
at each repetition of the word she slashed savagely at 
the tall flowers near her. 

"Well, I think I might say I could help you in 
that," said Simnel quietly; "but you must be frank. 
You know I'm a man of the world ; and I've made it 
my business to go a little into this question. So now 
tell me your life, from the first that you can remember 
of it." 

" You're a cool hand, Simnel ; but I know you mean 
running straight, so I don't mind. First thing of all I 
can recollect is being held out at arm's length by Phil 
Fox, as the child in his great trick-act of Eolla, cr the 
something of Peru. The circus belonged to old Fox, 
Phil's father ; and I used to live with the Foxes, — the 
old man and woman and Bella Fox, and Phil and his 
wife. Bad lot she was : had been a splendid rider, but 
fell and broke her leg ; and was always vicious and 
snappish, and that irritating, I wonder Phil could put 
up with her. They were very kind to me, the Foxes, 
and I was quite like their own child; and I played 
fairies, and flower-girls, and columbines, and such like, 
all on horseback, in all the towns we went circuit. I 
used to ask the old man sometimes about myself; but 
he never would say more than that I was his little ap- 
prentice, and I should find it all right some day. And 
so I went on with them till I grew quite a big girl, and 
used to do the barebacked-steed business, and what I 
liked better, the riding-habit and the highly -trained 
charger dodge, until old Fox declared there was no better 



286 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

rider in England than me. I was just nineteen, when 
he sent for me one night, — it was at Warwick, I recol- 
lect, and we'd had a stunning house, — and I found him 
with two gentlemen standing with him. He pointed to 
one of them, and he said to me : ' Express' — that's the 
name he used to call me, — ' Express, this is the gentle- 
man that bound you 'prentice to me ever so many years 
ago. He's come to take you away now, and make your 
fortune.' I cried, and said I didn't want my fortune 
made, and that I wouldn't go ; but after a long talk full 
of business, I saw it would be for my good, and I agreed. 
So this place was bought for me in my name, and here 
I've been ever since." 

" And who were those gentlemen?" 

" That's exactly what I can't tell you." 

" Can't tell ?" 

" Won't, if you like it better. There, don't look 
vexed. I'll tell you this much, one of them was my 
uncle, — my real uncle, I firmly believe, — though on 
which side you must find out." 

"And the other?" 

" The other I love dearer than any one on earth." 

i' Dearer than you loved — " 

" I know who you're going to say ; infinitely dearer ! 
but in — there ; there's enough of that. One thing more 
I'll tell you: up to this hour I've never been told my 
father's name or rank in life." 

"And this benevolent uncle did it all? Quite like a 
play, by Jove ! Well, I've not learned much ; but I may 
be able to make something of it — something that will be 
good for us both." 

" That's all right ! and now your business is finished?' 

"Yes, entirely — no, not quite, by the way; I wanted 
to say one word to you on another subject. You know 
I'm not likely to be jealous, Kitty — " 

" So far as I'm concerned, you've no right to be." 

" I know, of course; but still one doesn't like these 
things. There's a young man named Prescott, who is 
in my office. I notice that he's constantly in your com- 



WEAVING THE WEB. 287 

pany ; I've met you with him half-a-dozen times, and I 
hear frequently from, others of his being with you." 

" What of that ?" she asked, with flushing cheek ; 
" are you to settle my company for me?" 

"Not at all — not at all; but I'm speaking both for 
your good and his. He's a young fellow of good abilities; 
but he's thoughtless and foolish, and, what's worse than 
all, he's poor. Now this riding about, horse-hiring and 
that sort of thing, necessarily leads him into expense ; 
and from what I hear, he's going a great deal too fast. 
I hear all sorts of things about the young fellows who are 
under me, and I'm told that your friend Mr. Prescott is 
getting involved in money-matters; in fact, that he's 
mixed up in bill-transactions to an amount which, for 
him, is heavy, with a blood-sucking rascal named Scad- 
gers, who is one of the pests of society in general, and 
government offices in particular." 

" Scadgers !" replied Kate ; " what a funny name ! 
Scadgers, eh ?" 

" A good many people have found it any thing but a 
funny name, Kitty. Now, though I don't suppose there's 
any thing between you and Mr. Prescott — " 

" Don't you trouble any more about that ; perhaps 
you've never noticed that Mr. Prescott never is with me 
except when one of my pupils is there too : now do you 
understand?" 

" There was no pupil nor any one else with you 
when I saw him talking to you in the Eow some twelve 
months since ; and he scuttled off as I rode up : how- 
ever, I thought I'd warn you about him. He's on the 
downward road, and unless he pulls up, he'll come to 
grief ; and it wouldn't do for you to be mixed up in any 
thing of that sort." 

He sat some time longer talking of ordinary matters, 
and rattling on in his best style. In every thing he said 
there was a tinge of attention almost bordering on re- 
spect to his companion, which she did not fail to notice, 
and which decidedly impressed her in his favour. In- 



288 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

deed, Kate Mellon never had imagined that Mr. Simnei 
could have made such progress in her good graces as 
he did this day. They never recurred to any serious 
topic until his horse was brought, when just as he was 
mounting she touched him on the shoulder, and said, 
" You'll not forget to keep me up to the mark about 
that business?" then, with a half-shuddering laugh, "I'm 
still interested, you know, in that young man's progress." 
Simnei wheeled round and looked at her steadily under 
his bent eyebrows. " Tou shall be made acquainted 
with any thing that happens, depend upon it. Adieu!" 
and he sprang to the saddle, raised his hat, and rode 
slowly off. 

" Not half cured yet," said he to himself, " not half; 
and yet so savage at his slight, that she'd do him any 
bad turn on the spur of the moment, and repent of it in- 
stantly. She was telling truth about Prescott, I know; 
but it was best to break up that instantly. How lovely 
she looked! a little flushed, a little excited; but that 
only added to her charm. I didn't like that Madeira 
being so handy, by the way; I must look after that. By 
Jove, what a fairy it is ! where's there one to compare to 
her? so round and plump and well put together! And if 
I can only square this family history — uncle, eh? who the 
deuce can that have been? That's an important link in 
the chain. And somebody she loves, too; what the deuce 
does that mean? Ah, well, it's coming to a head now: 
another month ought to enable me to pull up the curtain 
on the last act of the drama." 

And Kate returned to her garden-chair as the sound 
of the horse's hoofs died away in the distance; and throw- 
ing herself back, and drumming with her fingers upon 
the little table, went off into a reverie. She thought of 
her devotion to Beresford; how the passion had first- 
grown when he first knew her; how she had given way 
to it; and how the nourishment of it was one of the 
brightest phases in her strange odd life. She remem- 
bered the first time she saw him, the first compliment 



WEAVING THE WEB. 289 

he paid her; the way in which his easy jolly behaviour 
struck her as compared with the dreary vapidity, or, what 
was worse, the slangy fastness of the other men of her 
acquaintance. And then she thought of that eventful 
evening when she had knelt at his feet and — she clashed 
her clenched fist upon the table as she remembered that, 
and shuddered and bit her lips when she thought that 
a description of that scene had been given amid ribald 
shouts. Mr. Simnel had not so much share of her thoughts 
as probably he would have wished; but she pondered for 
a few moments on his eagerness to obtain particulars of 
her early life, and wondered what scheme he had in hand. 
She had a very high opinion of his intellect, and felt sure 
he was using it just then in her service; but she could 
not conceive to what end his labours were tending. And 
then she remembered what he had said about Mr. Pres- 
cott; and her face grew a little sad. 

"Poor Jim!" she said to herself; "poor fellow! going 
to grief, is he ? in debt and dropping his money, like a 
young fool as he is. And that nice girl, too, so fresh and 
jolly and countrified and innocent! Lord help us! What 
are you at, Kitty, you idiot! why should those things 
give you a twinge? Steady, now; it's not often your 
heart buck-jumps like that. They'll go all right, those 
though, if Jim can only be put square. And that he 
shall be ! "What's the use of my hoarding in my old 
stocking; it'll never be any good to me; and so I may 
as well have the pleasure of helping somebody else. 
Scadgers, that was the name; I'll get that put right at 
once. Scadgers! I wonder where he lives. However, 
that'll be easily found out. Poor Jim! what a good 
husband he'll make that rosy-faced girl!" 

"What was it that made Kate Mellon's head drop on 
her hands, and the tears ooze through the fingers cover- 
ing her eyes? Not the thought of Mr. Prescott's mar- 
rying some one else surely, for had she not resolutely 
snubbed his proposals? Certain it is that she remained, 
with her head bowed for full ten minutes, and that when 
she looked up, her face was tear-dabbled and her eyes red 

u 



290 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

and swollen. She took no heed of her appearance, how- 
ever, but walked into the house, and pulling out her 
gaudy blotting-book, she scrawled a long letter, which, 
when finished, she addressed to " F. Churchill, Esq., 
Statesman Office, E.C." 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

TIGHTENING THE CURB. 

The garden-party at Uplands had a serious effect on the 
household in Great Adullam Street. Of course the actual 
disturbance, the state of warfare engendered by what 
Frank Churchill imagined he had seen take place be- 
tween his wife and Captain Lyster in the shrubbery, did 
not last long. When Barbara swept up to her bedroom 
from the hired brougham, Frank retreated into his little 
snuggery and lit his old meerschaum-pipe, and sat gazing 
vacantly through the smoke-wreaths, and pondering on 
the occurrences of the day. He could scarcely realise to 
himself what had passed; he could scarcely imagine that 
the woman to whom, twelve months since, he had sworn 
fealty, whose lightest whisper caused his pulse to throb, 
and who, on her part, had changed the whole style and 
current of her life for the sake of fulfilling her determina- 
tion to be his and his alone, could have so far repented 
of that great crisis in her career as to listen to the com- 
pliments of another man, to receive, with evident satis- 
faction, his unqualified admiration, and to fly off in a 
rage, with fire in her eyes and bitter words on her lips, 
when her husband remonstrated with her on her conduct. 
Here were they, that " twain one flesh," that mysterious 
two-in-onc, sitting under the same roof indeed, but in 
separate rooms; each thinking hard thoughts of the other, 
each with anger rife against the other, and with harsh 
words applied to each other yet ringing in their ears. 
Great Heavens ! thought Frank, was this what he had 
fondly pictured to himself? Was this the quiet haven 
of repose, the lodge in the vast wilderness of Mesopo- 



292 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

tamia, with one fair spirit for his minister, on which he 
had so rashly reckoned ? Was the lodge to be a divided 
territory? and was the fair spirit to be equally fair to 
some other man, and to be a minister of the blatant, re- 
viling, Boanerges class? Instead of the quiet and rest 
on which he had calculated, and which were so necessary 
to him after his exciting hard work, was his mind to be 
racked by petty jealousies, his peace invaded by wretched 
squabbles, the sunshine of his existence overclouded with 
gloom and doubt ? Was his wife to be an adversary in- 
stead of a helpmate? were her — And then abruptly he 
stopped in his self-torturing, as he thought of her, — how 
friendless and unprotected she was, how he alone was her 
prop and stay in the world; and then he tinned the whole 
matter in his mind, and it occurred to him that that hor- 
ribly irritable temper of his might have led him again 
into mischief, causing him to see things that really might 
not have happened, and to use language far stronger than 
there was any necessity for, and to render him violent 
and undignified and absurd, and so completely to do 
away with the force accruing from his right position. 
For undoubtedly he was in the right position ; for had 
he not seen with his own eyes — what? They were walk- 
ing together, certainly; but there was no reason why that 
should not be : fifty other couples were promenading the 
same grounds at the same time, and — no! on reflection, 
he did not see Lyster kiss her hand ; it was that young 
idiot who was gabbling to him the whole time, and who 
said something about it. Perhaps nothing of the kind 
had occurred. Barbara had denied it instantly; and when 
had she ever breathed a falsehood to him? She was not 
the style of woman to equivocate; her pride would save 
her from that; and — it must have been all fancy! some 
horrible mistake, out of which had arisen this wretched 
scene and his worse than wretched rage. And now there 
was something between them, some horrible misunder- 
standing which must be at once set right. If — if any 
thing were to happen to either of them, and one were to 
die while there was enmity, or something like it, exist- 



TIGHTENING THE CUBE. 2D3 

in a; between them ! and this thought caused the meer- 
schaum to be laid aside unfinished, and sent Frank strid- 
ing up, four stairs at a time, to his bedroom. 

He found Barbara sitting in her white dressing-gown, 
arranging her hair before the looking-glass. Her face 
was very white, her eyelids a little red and puffed, and 
her lips were tightly pressed together. She took no no- 
tice of the opening of the door, but went calmly on with 
her toilet. Frank was a little disconcerted by this ; he 
had calculated on a tender look of recognition, a few 
smothered words of explanation, and a final tableau in 
each other's arms. But as Barbara, with the greatest 
serenity, still appeared completely immersed in the in- 
tricate plaiting evolutions she was performing with a 
piece of her hair and a stalwart hair-pin, Frank advanced 
gently, and standing behind her chair, touched her shoul- 
der, and said softly, "Darling !" 

There was no reply; but the hands occupied in the 
plaiting manoeuvre perhaps shook a little. 

" Mv darling," repeated Frank, " won't you notice 
me?" 

" "Were you speaking to me?" asked Barbara in an icy 
voice, and looking up at him with a calm rigid blank 
face. 

" To whom else should I be speaking ? to whom else 
should I apply that term?" 

" Really I can't say. The last time you spoke to me, 
you were good enough to swear ; and as I know you pride 
yourself on your consistency, I could not imagine you 
could so soon alter your tone." 

" Xo ; but, Barbara dearest, you should not throw 
that in my teeth; you know that I was vexed; that I — " 

"Vexed, Frank! Vexed! I wonder at you! You ac- 
cuse me of something utterly untrue, in language such as 
I have never listened to before; and then, as an excuse, 
you plead that you were vexed i" 

" I was foolish, Barbara, headstrong and horrible, and 
let my confounded temper get the mastery over me ; but 
then, child, you ought to forgive me; for all I did was 



294 BROKEX TO HAUXESS. 

from excess of love for you. If I did not hang upon 
every word, every action, of yours, I should be far less 
exacting in my affection. You should think of that, 
Barbara." 

His voice was broken as he spoke, and she noticed that 
the hand which was upon her chair-back shook palpably. 

"You could not have meant what you said, in the 
brougham, Frank," said she in a softened tone. " You 
could not have imagined that I should have permitted 
— there, I cannot speak of it!" she exclaimed abruptly, 
placing her handkerchief to her swimming eyes. 

" No, my darling, I will not. I could not — I never 
— of course — fool that I am !" and then incoherently, 
but satisfactorily, the question was dismissed. 

Dismissed temporarily, but by no means forgotten, 
by no means laid aside by either of them. Captain Lyster 
called the next day while Frank was at the office, eager 
to see whether Mrs. Churchill had repented of the task 
she had undertaken in counselling and warning Alice 
Schroder ; and Barbara told her husband on his return 
of the visit she had had, and mentioned it with eyes 
which a desire not to look conscious rendered somewhat 
defiant, and with cheeks which flushed simply because it 
was the last thing they ought to have done. Heaven 
knows Barbara Churchill had nothing to be ashamed of 
in being visited by Captain Lyster. She never had the 
smallest sign of a feeling stronger than friendship for 
him, and yet she felt somewhat guilty, as she acknow- 
ledged to herself that his visit had given her very great 
pleasure. The truth was that the garden-party at Up- 
lands had completely upset the current of Barbara's life. 
When, in the first wild passion of her love for him who 
became her husband, she had willingly forfeited all that 
had hitherto been the pleasure of her life, — the luxury 
and admiration in which she had been reared, the plea- 
sant surroundings which had been hers since her cradle, 
— she had found something in exchange. She had given 
up half-a-hundred friendships, which she knew to be 
hollow and empty ; but she had consoled herself with 



TIGUTKXING THE CURB. 295 

one vast love, which she believed to be lasting and true, 
and which, after all, was a novelty. . 

As lias been said, Barbara had had her flirtations 
innumerable, but she had never known before what love- 
was; and having a very sensitive organisation, and goiny 
in heart and soul for the new passion, she had not in 
any great degree, at all events, felt the alteration in her 
position. Although every thing was different and in- 
ferior, every thing was in some degree connected with 
him, who was paramount in her idea to any thing she 
had ever known. She might feel the dulness of the 
neighbourhood, the smallness of the house, the difference 
in the society and in her own occupations and amuse- 
ments ; but all these were part and parcel of that sun of 
her existence — her husband; that great luminary, in 
whose brilliant rays all little gloom-spots were swallowed. 
up and merged. Even when the glamour died away, and 
the blacknesses stood out in bold relief, she had been so 
dazed by the brightness, and, owing to the thorough 
change, the events of her past life seemed so far away, 
as to awaken but very little remorse or regret. She was 
beginning to bear with something like patience the pro- 
siness of her mother-in-law, the spiteful criticisms of 
Mrs. Harding, the hideous vulgarity of some of her other 
neighbours. But the visit to "Uplands came upon her as 
a terrific shock. Once more mixing in her old society, 
hearing the fashionable jargon to which she had been 
accustomed from her youth up; meeting those who had 
always looked up to her as their superior in beauty, and 
consequently in marketable value; listening to soft com- 
pliments; seeing her wishes, ever so slightly hinted, 
obeyed with alacrity; breathing once more that atmo- 
sphere in which she was reared, but from which she 
seemed to have been long estranged, — Barbara felt more 
and more like Barbara Lexden, while Barbara Churchill 
faded hazily away. The dull, dull street, — the dead, 
dead life, — the poverty which prescribed constant care 
in the household management, — the dowdy dresses and 
second-hand manners of the inhabitants of the quarter, — 



296 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the daily vexations and cares and wrong-way rubbings, — 
seemed all to belong to some hideous dream, while the 
real existence passed into the former life with a pleasant 
addition in the person of Frank. The pleasure was brief 
enough, and she woke to all the horrors rendered doubly 
bitter by the short renewal of bygone joys. The clock 
had struck twelve, the ballroom had vanished, and she 
was again Cinderella with haunting memory for her 
glass-slipper. The prince remained, certainly; but he 
was no longer a prince ; he had bad tempers, and was 
peevish and jealous, and thoroughly mortal. She had 
returned to the dust and dreariness of Great Adullam 
Street, and the rattling cabs, and Mrs. Churchill in her 
old black-silk dress, and the Hebrews opposite smoking 
their cigars at the open windows in the hot summer 
evenings. She could scarcely fancy that there was a 
world where people dressed in full muslin, and pink- 
crape bonnets, or bewitching hats ; where business was 
unknown, and work never heard of; where there were 
perpetual croquet-parties and picnics and horticultural 
fetes ; where there were night-drives homeward in open 
carriages after Richmond dinners ; and where the men 
talked of something else than when Brown was going to 
bring out his poems, or what a slating Smith's novel had 
had in the Scourge. In that brief respite from her weary 
life, she had heard those around her talking of their 
plans to be carried out on the then occurring break-up 
of the season ; she had heard girls talk with rapture of 
their approaching visits to German Spas and Italian 
lakes ; she had heard arrangements made for meeting in 
English country-houses, where she had formerly been an 
eagerly sought -for guest; or at fashionable seabords, 
where she had been the reigning belle. And she came 
back with the full knowledge that a fortnight's run to 
some cockney watering-place, handy of access to London, 
where she could live in cheap lodgings and play a very 
undistinguished part, would be all the relaxation she 
could possibly hope for. And all this sunk into her soul, 
and made her wretched and discontented, and formed the 



TIGHTKS'ISCi- THE CURB. 297 

wandering isles of night which dashed the very source 
and fount of her day. 

It Mas wrong, undoubtedly. She had chosen her 
course, and must run it; as the Mesopotamians would 
have expressed themselves, she had made her bed, and 
must lie upon it. She had her husband to think of, and 
should have struggled womanfully to bear up against all 
these small crosses and disquietudes for his sake; she 
should have met her fate with a brave heart, and striven 
to prevent his having any suspicion of the longings and 
disappointments by which she was racked. Barbara 
should have done all this, as we in our different way 
should have done so much, which we have resolutely 
omitted, — paid that bill, for instance; avoided that wo- 
man ; not bought that horse ; helped that old friend ; 
denied ourselves that fling in print at Jones. She 
should have done; but, like us, she didn't. Her cha- 
racter was any thing but perfect ; and the very pride 
on which she so much prided herself, and which should 
have left her straight, now turned against herself, and, 
" like a hedgehog rolled the wrong way," pricked her 
mercilessly. She did indeed struggle to contend with 
the feelings which were conquering her, and which were 
the "little low" sensations renewed with tenfold force; 
but without success. A dead dull despair, a loathing and 
detestation of all the circumstances of her life, a horror 
of the people round her, and a wild regret for what had 
gone before never to return, — these were the demons 
which beset Barbara's daily path. And with them at one 
time came the first threatenings of another feeling which 
would have been more destructive to all chance of present 
or future happiness than any other, had not Providence 
in its mercy counteracted its effect by a passion, bad in- 
deed, torturing, and hurtful, but nothing like so deadly 
as the other. Weighed down by her real or fancied misery, 
constantly repining in secret, and comparing her present 
with her past life, Barbara might have been tempted to 
think of Frank as the agent of her wretchedness, as the 
primary mover in the chain of events which had made 



298 BEOKEN TO HAENESS. 

her exchange Tyburnia for Great Adullam Street, luxury 
for comparative poverty, and happiness for despair; she 
might have done this, but she became jealous. She no- 
ticed that lately Frank's manner had been strange and 
preoccupied; that he was away from home very much 
more frequently than when they were first married; that 
from what she gathered when she heard him talking with 
his friends, he evidently sought work which took him out, 
and on two or three occasions had gone on country trips 
in the interest of the journal — duty which did not fall to 
his lot, and which he had never undertaken before. His 
manner to her, she thought, was certainly very much 
changed, and she did not like the alteration. He was 
courteous always, and gentle; but he had gradually lost 
all that petting fondness which, from its very rarity in a 
man of his stamp, was so winning at first; and with his 
courtesy was mingled a grave sad air, which Barbara un- 
derstood to mean reproach, and which galled her mightily. 
I do not know that Barbara at first really felt jealous of 
her husband: had she examined the foundation of her 
jealousy and sifted its causes, there is very little doubt 
that the natural sense which she undoubtedly possessed 
would have shown her that her suspicions were absurd. 
But the truth is, she all unwittingly rather encouraged the 
passion, as a relief from the monotonous misery of her life, 
without a thought of how rapidly it grew, or what pro- 
portions it might eventually assume. It was a change to 
think differently of Frank, to take a feverish interest in 
his proceedings and in the proceedings of those with 
whom he was brought into contact; and Frank himself 
was surprised to find how the " little low" fits had been 
succeeded by a more sprightly demeanour — a demeanour 
which showed itself in sharp glances and bitter words. 

And Frank, was he happy ? In truth, not one whit 
happier than his wife, though his wretchedness sprang 
from a different cause and was shown in a different way. 
He felt that he had clutched the great prize, and found 
it to be a Dead-Sea apple; that he had reached the kirn- 
ing-point of his career, passed it, and found the rest of 



TIGHTENING THE CTJltB. 29$ 

his course all down-hill; he had played the great stake 
of his life and lost it; and henceforward his heart's purse 
was empty, and he was bankrupt in affections. It had 
come upon him, gradually indeed, but with overwhelming 
force: at first he had ascribed Barbara's pettishness to 
the mere vagaries of a girl, and had looked upon her 
caprices as relics of that empire which had been hers so 
long, and from which she, naturally enough, was unwilling 
to part. He had seen, not without annoyance, indeed, 
but still without any deep or lasting pang, that there was- 
an uncomfortable feeling, based either upon rivalry or 
some other passion equally unintelligible to him, between 
his wife and his mother; but he had hoped this would 
pass away. He had noticed that his old friends, though 
they spoke with warm admiration of Barbara's beauty, 
seemed to shirk any question of liking or being pleased 
with her; and that, let them meet her however often, she 
scarcely seemed to make any progress in their regard; 
but he thought this was as much their fault as hers, and 
that the estrangement would wear off. It was not until 
his mother had dropped her hint as to the frequency of 
Captain Lyster's visits, that Frank's mind began to be 
seriously disturbed; it was not until the scene at Up- 
lands, of which he had been an unwilling spectator, and 
vhe subsequent scene with Barbara in» the brougham, that 
he began to feel that his marriage had been a horrible 
mistake. Then all Barbara's "low" fits, all her silence, 
all the tears which he could see constantly welling up 
into her eyes, and kept back only by a struggle as palp- 
able as the tears themselves ; then the complaints of 
dulness and monotony — all poor Barbara's shortcomings, 
indeed, and they were not a few — were ascribed to one 
source. She had known this man in former days; he was 
of her society and set, and had probably made love to her, 
as had hundreds before; and Frank ground his teeth as 
lie thought how Barbara's reputation as a flirt, and her 
attractive qualities as a coquette, had been kindly men- 
tioned to him by more than one of her old friends. Some 
quarrel had probably occurred between them ; during 



300 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

which, he Frank had crossed her path, had fallen at her 
feet, — dazed idiot that he was ! — and she had raised him 
up, and out of pique had married him. That was the 
story, Frank could swear to it! he turned it over and 
over in his mind until he believed it implicitly, and con- 
jured up the different scenes and passages, which made 
his blood boil and sent him, with set teeth and scowling 
brow, stamping through the long-echoing Mesopotamian 
squares, to the intense wonder of the policeman and the 
few passers-by in those dreary thoroughfares. Only when 
he was quite alone, however, did he in the least give way 
to his emotions. When he was at home — where he and 
Barbara would now sit for hours without exchanging a 
word, and where the occasional presence of a third person 
rendered matters more horrible, compelling them to put 
on a ghastly semblance of affectionate familiarity — when 
he was at home, or down at the Statesman Office, where 
he could be thoroughly natural, he was moody, stern, and 
silent. His manner had lost that round jollity which had 
always characterised it, and his appearance was beginning 
to change: he was thinner; there were silver lines in the 
brown hair, and two or three deep lines round the eyes. 

Of course his friends noticed all this, as friends no- 
tice every thing. Madly and blindly people go through 
life, imagining that their thoughts and actions are — 
some of them, at least — known but to themselves alone; 
whereas all of them — all such, at least, as they would 
prefer keeping secret — are public property, and as tho- 
roughly patent as if they had been proclaimed from the 
market-place cross. You may go on in London living 
for years next door to a neighbour whose name you are 
unacquainted with, and whom you have never seen ; but 
make him an acquaintance, give him some interest in 
you, and without your in the least suspecting it, he will 
find out the whole story of your life, will know all about 
the young lady with the fair hair in Wiltshire, the hun- 
dred pounds borroAved from Eobinson, the disappoint- 
ment at Uncle Prendergast's will — all the little things, 
in fact, which you thought were buried in your own bo- 



TIGHTENING THE CUKE. 301 

pom: and will sit down opposite you at table vitli an 
innocent ingenuous face, as though your affairs wflre the 
eery last things with which he would trouble himself. 
"We all do this, day by day, with the noblest hypocrisy, 
and receive from our dear intimate statements of facts 
which we know to be false, and warpings of statements 
which we know to be perverted, with " Indeeds !" and 
" Reallys ?" and head-noddings of outward acquiescence 
and mocking incredulity in our hearts. Barbara Churchill 
had been the one grand subject of conversation for the 
Mesopotamian gossips ever since her marriage : they had 
lived upon her, and found that she improved in flavour. 
Her appearance, her dress, her manners; what they were 
pleased to term her "stand-offishness;" her shortcomings 
as a housekeeper; her ignorance in the matter of mend- 
ing under-linen ; her novel-reading and piano-playing — 
all these had been toothsome morsels, far more enjoyable 
than the heavy pies, the thick chops, and the sardines 
which figured in that horrible Mesopotamian meal known 
as " a thick tea;" and had been picked to the very bone. 
And then, when it began to be whispered about — as it 
very soon did— that there were dissensions in the Churchill 
camp, that all did not go as smoothly as it should, and 
that, in fact, quarrels were rife— then came the crowning 
delight of the banquet, and the female portion of the 
Great-Adullam-Street community was nearly delirious 
with excitement. Although old Mrs. Churchill, from 
her kind-heartedness and simplicity, had always been a 
great favourite with her neighbours, she had no idea of 
the extent of her popularity until this period. Her little 
rooms were literally beset with female friends ; and she 
had invitations to tea-parties three-deep. To these invi- 
tations — to as many of them, at least, as was possible — 
she invariably responded. By nature the old lady hated 
the character of a gossip, and would have been highly 
indicant had she been charged with any propensity for 
chattering; but easily impressible by those with whom 
she was brought into contact, she had acquired a little 
of the prevalent failing of the region, and moreover, she 



302 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

thought it her duty to tell all she knew about the then 
favourite subject, in order, as she phrased it, " that poor 
Frank's position might be set right." But if poor Frank's 
position was properly looked after, it must be acknow- 
ledged that poor Barbara received her meed of popular 
disapprobation. Not that her mother-in-law ever said 
one direct word of condemnation; old Mrs. Churchill 
was far too good a Christian willingly to start or give 
currency to harsh criticism, more especially on one so 
closely allied to her. But it was very difficult to absolve 
her son from blame without shifting the onus of the 
avowed quarrel on to the shoulders of her daughter-in-law; 
and when the ladies surrounding the tea-table, groaning 
over " poor Mr. Churchill's" domestic woes, shook their 
cap-strings in virtuous indignation at her who had caused 
them, the old lady made but a feeble protest, which 
speedily closed in a string of doleful ejaculations. In 
the minds of the members of this Mesopotamian Velrm- 
gericht, of which Mrs. Harding might be considered pre- 
sident, Barbara stood fully convicted of the charge which 
they had themselves brought against her. Her indo- 
lence, her carelessness, her " fal-lal ways," her pride and 
squeamishness had brought — only rather sooner than 
was expected — their natural result; and "isn't it better, 
my dear, to have a little less good looks and a little less 
fondness for jingling the piano and reading trashy novels, 
and keep a tidy house over your head and live happily 
with your husband ?" 

The stories of all that passed in Churchill's house, 
collected with care from old Mrs. Churchill and her ser- 
vant Lucy, — whose habitual puritanical taciturnity was 
melted by the course of events, and who gave way to 
that hatred against Barbara which she had felt from the 
first moment of seeing her, — and duly dressed, illus- 
trated, and annotated by Mrs. Harding, who had a spe- 
cial talent in that way, of course before long reached 
Mr. Harding's ears. 

It is difficult to explain how that good fellow was 
affected by the news. He had the warmest personal re- 



TIGHTENING THE CURB. 303 

gard for Frank, loving him with something of paternal 
fondness; he had always impressed hini with the pro- 
priety of marriage, and had looked forward with real 
anxiety to the time when he should see his friend settled 
for life. Not unti] then, he thought, would those talents 
which he knew Frank possessed enable him to take his 
proper position in the world : what he did now was well 
enough ; but it was merely the evanescent sparkle of his 
genius. Soberly settled doAvn with a woman worthy of 
him, the real products of his intellect and his reading 
would come forth, and he would step into the first rank 
of the men of his time. And now it had all come to 
this! Frank was married; but he had made a wrong 
selection, and was a moody, discontented, blighted man. 
The aspect of affairs was horrible; and when told of 
their real condition by his wife, George Harding deter- 
mined that he would exercise his prerogative of friend, 
and speak to Churchill on the subject. 

Accordingly the next day when he saw Frank at the 
usual consultation at the office, Harding waited until the 
other man had left the room, and then, placing his hand 
affectionately on his friend's shoulder, said: "I want 
two minutes with you, Frank." 

"Two hours, if you like, Harding; it's all the same 
to me," replied Churchill wearily. 

" I want you to tell me what ails you, — what has 
worked such a complete change in you, physically and 
morally; or rather, I don't want you to tell me, for I 
know." 

Churchill looked up defiantly with flushed cheeks, as 
he exclaimed, " What do you know ? are my private 
affairs topics for the tittle-tattle of — there, God help me! 
I'm weak as water. Now I want to quarrel with my 
best friend !" 

"No, you don't, old man; and you would get no 
quarrel out of me, if you wished it ever so much. But 
I can't bear this any longer; I can't bear to see you 
losing your health and your spirits; and wearing your- 
self out day by day as you are, without coming to the 



304 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

rescue. Let us look the matter boldly in the face at 
once. You're — you're not quite happy at home, Frank, eh?" 

"Happy!" he echoed, with a strange hollow laugh; 
" no, not entirely perhaps." 

"Well, that's abaci thing; but it's curable. At all 
events, giving way to moping and misery won't help it. 
Many men have begun their married life in wretched- 
ness, and emerged, when they least expected it, into sun- 
shine. Here are two young people who have not known 
each other above a couple of months, both of whom have 
very possibly been spoiled beforehand, and they arrive 
each with their own particular stock of whims and fan- 
cies, which they declare shall be carried out by the other. 
It takes time to rub down all the angles and points, and 
to provide for the regular working of the machinery; and 
it is never done by a jump. You've fine material to 
work upon too; if Mrs. Churchill were vulgar or un- 
educated, or did not care for you, you would have great 
difficulties to contend with. But as she is exactly the re- 
verse of all this, she ought to be easily managed. Don't 
you understand that in these matters one or the other 
must have the upperhand ? and that one should be the 
husband ! The supremacy once asserted, all works well; 
not until then, and generally the struggle, though sharp, 
is very short. Every thing is wrong, and the whole ma- 
chine is out of gear. You've let her have her own way 
too much, my friend. You must tighten the curb and 
see the result." 

" If you were a horseman, Harding," said Frank with 
a dreary smile, "you would know that tightening the 
curb sometimes produces the worst of rebellious vices — ■ 
rearing!" 

" Oh, nc fear of that; no fear of that. Try it! You 
really must do something, Frank; I can't bear to see you 
giving way like this. You must assert yourself, my good 
fellow, and at once; for though it may be bad now, it 
will be ten times worse hereafter, and you'll bitterly rue 
not having taken my advice." 

And George Harding went home and told his wife 



TIGHTENING THE CUHB. 305 

what lie had done, and assured her that she would find 
matters speedily set to rights in Great Adullam Street 
now. 

And Frank Churchill walked home, pondering on -lh«j 
advice he had just received and finally determining with- 
in himself to adopt it. He supposed he had been weak 
and wanting in proper self-respect. Harding was always 
the reflex of his wife's sentiments, and doubtless that 
whole set of wretched tabbies had been pitying him as a 
poor spiritless creature. He would take Harding's advice 
and bring the matter to an issue at once. 

He went into his little study and had just seated 
himself at his desk to commence his work when Barbara 
entered the room. She was dressed in her bonnet and 
shawl; her eyes were swollen, and there were traces of 
recent tears still on her cheeks; the muscles round her 
mouth were working visibly, and her whole frame was 
quivering with excitement. As she closed the door be- 
hind her, she seemed to control herself with one great 
effort, then walking straight to the desk she said, in a 
broken and trembling voice, " I want you to answer me 
a question." 

" Barbara!" said Frank, whose intended firmness had 
all melted away before her haggard appearance, " Bar- 
bara!" and he rose and put out his hand to draw her to 
him. 

" Don't touch me !" she screamed, starting back. 
" Don't lay one finger upon me until — until you have 
answered my question. This morning you left this enve- 
lope on the dressing-table; tell me who is the writer and 
what were the contents." 

She tossed an envelope on to the desk as she spoke, 
and leant with one hand against the wall. 

"That envelope," said Frank, speaking very slowly, 
"is mine. I utterly deny your right to ask me any thing 
about it ; I utterly refuse to satisfy your curiosity." 

" Curiosity ! it is not that ; God knows it is not that 
feeling merely that prompts me. This is the second time 
you have, to my knowledge, received letters in that writ- 

x 



306 BROKEX TO HARNESS. 

ing. The first time was at Bissett, -when you left sud- 
denly, immediately after its receipt. I suspected then, 
but had no right to ask; now I have the right, and I 
demand to know!" 

" I can only repeat what I said before: I most posi- 
tively decline to tell you." 

"Beware, Frank! You ought to know me by this 
time ; but you don't. If you don't satisfy me on this 
point, I leave you for ever." 

"You have your answer," said Frank; "now let me 
get to my work." 

"You still refuse?" 

" You heard what I said." 

She drew herself up and left the room; the next 
minute he heard the street-door shut, and, running to 
the dining-room window, saw her hail a cab and get 
into it. 

"There's the first lesson, at all events," said he to 
himself. " When she comes back to dinner, she will be 
cooler, and more amenable to reason." 

He finished his work, and walked down with it to 
the Statesman Office. On his return he found a com- 
missionaire in the hall talking to his servant. He asked 
the latter where her mistress was, but the girl said she 
had not come in, at the same time handing him a letter. 

It was very brief; it merely said: 

"You have decided; and henceforth you and I never 
meet again. Mrs. Schroder, with whom I am staying, 
will send her maid for a box which I have left ready 
packed. I hope you may be more happy with your cor- 
respondent, and in your return to your old life, than you 
have been with B. C." 

As Frank Churchill read this, the lines wavered be- 
fore his eyes, and he reeled against the wall. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

ME. SCADGERS PAYS A VISIT. 

Those who had been most intimately acquainted with 
Mr. Scadgers of Newman Street had never known him 
under any circumstances devote a portion of his valuable 
time to sacrificing to the Graces. He was popularly sup- 
posed to sleep in his clothes; and as those garments were 
seldom entirely free from fluff or " flue," there were pro- 
bably some grounds for the supposition; but he could 
not have slept in his big high-boots, though no one had 
ever seen him without them, save Jinks. Jinks had 
more than once seen his master with slippered feet, and 
trembled; for Mr. Scadgers' boots were to him what 
those other Ingoldsby-celebrated boots were to the Baron 
Ralph de Shurland, what his hair was to Samson, what 
his high-heels were to Louis Quatorze. Without his 
boots, Mr. Scadgers was quite a different man; he talked 
of "giving time," of "waiting a day or two," of "holding- 
off a bit;" this was in his slippers: but when once his 
boots were on, in speaking of the same debtor he told 
Jinks to " sell him up slick, and clear off all his sticks." 
He always seemed to wear the same suit of black, and 
all the washing that he was ever known to indulge in 
was by smearing himself with the damp corner of a 
towel, which he kept in the office between the chemist's 
bottles, one of which held the water; while his toilette 
was completed by running a pocket-comb through his 
close-cropped hair, and then smoothing it down with the 
palms of his hands, whisking Ms boots with his red-silk 
pocket-handkerchief, and putting sharp spiky points to 



o'Uh BROKEN TO HAIKESS. 

his nails by the aid of a vicious-looking buck-handled 
penknife. 

Thoroughly accustomed to his patron's appearance, 
Jinks was, then, struck with wonderment on beholding 
him one morning enter the office in comparatively gor- 
geous array. Through the folds of a white waistcoat 
there protruded a large shirt-frill, certainly of rather a 
yellow hue, and not so neat in the plaits as it ought to 
have been, but for all that an undeniable frill, such as 
adorned the breasts of the dandies of the last generation; 
his usual napless greasy hat had been discarded for a 
very elegant article in white beaver, which had appa- 
rently been the property of some other gentleman, and 
acquired by its present owner in that species of commer- 
cial transaction known as a " swop," as it was much too 
large for Mr. Scadgers, and obliterated every sign of his 
hair, while a corner of the red-silk pocket-handkerchief 
Ml out gracefully over the back of his head. In his 
hand Mr. Scadgers carried one damp black-beaver glove, 
and a thick stick like an elongated ruler, with a silver 
top and a silk tassel. Mr. Jinks was so overpowered at 
ihis apparition that he sat gazing with open mouth at 
his master, unable to speak a word; he had one comfort, 
however, — Mr. Scadgers had his boots on, so that under 
all this frivolity there lurked an intention of stern busi- 
ness. 

Mr. Scadgers took no notice of his subordinate's 
astonishment; but plachig the glove and the stick on his 
desk, taking off the white hat, and having a thorough 
mopping with the red-silk pocket-handkerchief, looked 
through his letters, and proceeded to indorse them, for 
Jinks to answer, in his usual business way. Some of his 
correspondence amused him, for he smiled and shook his 
head at the letter in a waggish way, as though the writer 
were chaffing him; in glancing over another he would 
lay his finger alongside his nose and mutter, " No, no, 
my boy! not by no means, no how!" while at others his 
larger eye would gleam ferociously, the upper corner of 
his mouth would twist higher than ever, and he would 



MR. SCADGERS PAYS A VISIT. 309 

Bhake his fist at the paper and utter words not pleasant 
to hear. His mental emotions did not, however, inter- 
fere with his business habits: as he finished each letter 
he wrote the substance of his reply on the back for Jinks 
to copy, drew three or four cheques, which he also handed 
over to his factotum, and locked away some flimsy docu- 
ments which had formed the contents of certain of the 
letters, in his cash-box. Some of the letters received bj r 
that morning's post had contained bank-notes, and these 
Mr. Scadgers examined most scrupulously before putting 
them away, holding them between his eyes and the light 
to examine the water-mark, carefully scrutinizing the 
engraving, and finally comparing the numbers, dates, 
and ciphers, with the list contained in a printed bill 
pasted against the inside of his desk-lid headed " Stolen." 
Over one of the notes, after comparing it with this list, 
Mr. Scadgers chuckled vastly. 

" 90275 LB January 12 ! there you are correct to a 
T. I thought they'd turn up about this time. I say, 
Jinks, here's one of the notes as was stolen from Ro- 
barts's; you recollect? Come up from Doncaster in 
renewal-fee from Honourable Capting Maitland. He 
took it over the Leger, no doubt : they always thought 
at Scotland Yard that that was the way those notes 
would get put off ; and they was right. Send this back 
to the capting, Jinks, — he's gone back to Leeds barracks 
now, — and tell him all about it; we can't have that, you 
know ; might get us into trouble ; and if he wants a 
renewal, he must send another. He won't know where 
he got it from, bless you ! reg'lar careless cove as ever 
was ; he ain't due till Friday, and he's sent up to-day 
in a reg'lar fright. You must step round to Moss's and 
tell 'em to proceed in Hetherington's matter. There's 
a letter there from Sir Mordaunt, askin' for more time, 
and promisin' all sorts of things ; but I'm sick of him 
and his blather. Tell Moss to put the screw on, and 
he'll pay up fast enough. Write a line to young Sewell, 
and tell him he can have 125/., and the rest in madeiiy. 
He's in Scotland ; you'll find his address in the book, — 



310 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

Killy-something; say the wine can be sent to the Al- 
bany; but I won't do it in any other way. Any one 
been in this morning ?" 

" Only Sharp, from Parkinson's," said Mr. Jinks, who 
was already deep in letter-writing. 

" Well," said his principal, " what did he want ?" 

" He came to know if you'd be in another two hun- 
dred for Mr. Beresford," replied Jinks, looking up from 
his work. "He's been hit at Doncaster, and wants the 
money most immediate." 

" Then he won't get it from me," said Mr. Scadgers ; 
" I won't have no more of his paper, at no price. He's 
up to his neck already, is Mr. Beresford ; and that old 
aunt of his don't mean dying yet, from all I hear." 

" There's the bishop," suggested Jinks. 

" Oh, blow the bishop ! He might be bled on the 
square, but he'd turn precious rusty if he thought it was 
stiff he was paying for. No, no ; Master Beresford's 
taking lodgings in Queer Street, I fancy; Parkinson 
holds more of his paper than you think of, and if he 
wants to go deeper, he must go by himself; I won't be 
in it." 

" All right," said Jinks ; " I'll put a cross against his 
name in the books. Eittman's boy looked in to see if 
his father could have two pounds till Saturday. I told 
him to call again this afternoon." 

" Till Saturday," said badgers with a grin. " You 
never see such a Saturday as that'll be,. Jinks. Poor 
devil ! there's nothing but the carcass left there ; and 
he's worked well too, and brought us plenty of custom, 
though not of the best sort. Let the boy have a sove- 
reign when he comes, Jinks, and tell him if his father 
don't pay, I'll put him in prison ; not that he'll mind 
that one dump. Oh, by the way, give me all the paper 
of young Prescott's that you've got by you." 

Mr. Jinks opened a large iron safe let into the wall 
just behind his stool, and from a drawer therein took out 
a bundle of tape-tied papers. From this he selected four, 
and as he handed them over to his principal, said, " Here 



MR. SCADGERS PAYS A VISIT. 311 

they are ; two with Pringle, one with Compton, and one 
I U., — total, one seventy-five. I was going to ask you 
what you intended to do about them. The young feller 
was here yesterday wanting to see you, and looking regu- 
larly down upon his luck." 

" Ah," said Scadgers, " there's something up about 
them — what, I don't know; but I'm a-goin' on that busi- 
ness now. I shall be away for an hour or two, Jinks." 

'•You ain't a-goin' to get married, are you,. Mr. Scad- 
gers ?" asked the little old man with a look of alarm ; 
" it would never do to bring a female into the concern." 

Scadgers laughed outright. " Married ! no, you old 
fool, not I. Can't a man put on a bit of finery"— here 
he smoothed the yellow shirt-frill with his grimy fingers 
— " without your supposing there's a woman in the case ? 
However, I'm goin' to call upon a lady, and that's the 
truth ; but all in a matter of business. Hand over them 
bills of Prescott's, and don't expect me till you see me." 

So saying, Mr. Scadgers took the bills from Jinks and 
placed them in his fat pocket-book, which he buttoned 
into the breast-pocket of his frock-coat, gave himself 
a good mopping with the red-silk pocket-handkerchief 
before throwing it into the big white hat, and placing 
that elegant article on his head, took up the one damp 
glove and the ruler-like stick, and went out. 

A consciousness of the shirt-frill, or the hat, or both, 
pervaded Mr. Scadgers' mind as he walked through the 
streets, and gave him an air very different from that 
which usually characterised his business perambulations. 
He seemed to feel that he was calling upon the passers- 
by for observation and notice ; and certainly the passers- 
by seemed to respond to the appeal. Ribald boys stuck 
the red-covered books of domestic household expendi- 
ture which they carried into their breasts, and swaggered 
by with heads erect ; others openly expressed their opi- 
nion that it was " all dicky" with him ; while a more 
impudent few suggested that he had stolen the " guv'nor's 
tile," or borrowed, his big brother's hat; nor were the 
suggestions that he was a barber's clerk out for a holiday 



312 BROKEN TO HAIiXESS. 

wanting on the part of the youthful populace. In an 
ordinary way Mr. Scadgers was thoroughly proof against 
the most cutting chaff: the most terrific things had been 
said about his boots, and he had remained adamant ; 
drunken men had requested permission to light their 
pipes at his nose, and he had never winced ; in allusion 
to his swivel-eye, boys had asked him to look round the 
corner and tell them what o'clock it was, without ruffling 
his temper in the smallest degree. But in the present 
instance he felt in an abnormal state ; he knew that there, 
was ground for the satire which was being poured out 
upon him, and he fled into the first omnibus for conceal- 
ment. He rode to the utmost limits of the omnibus- 
journey, and when he alighted he had still a couple of 
miles to walk to his destination. He inquired his way 
and set out manfully. The weather was magnificent ; 
one of those early October days when, though the sun's 
rays are a little tempered of their burning heat, and the 
air has a freshness which it has not known for months, 
the country yet wears a summer aspect. Mr. Scadgers' 
way lay along a high-road, on either side of which were 
fields : now huge yellow patches shorn of their produce, 
and, while awaiting the ploughshare, looking like the 
clean-shaved faces of elderly gentlemen; now broken up 
into rich loam furrows driven through by the puffing 
snorting engine which has supplanted the patient Dob- 
bin, the handle-holding labourer, and whip-cracking boy 
of our childhood, and against which Mr. Tennyson's 
Northern farmer inveighed with such bitterness. Far 
away on the horizon lay a broad wooded belt, broken 
in the centre, where two tall trees, twining their topmost 
branches together, formed a kind of natural arch, and 
beyond which one expected — absurdly enough — to find 
the sea. The road was quiet enough ; a few carts, laden 
with farm-produce or manure, crept lazily along it ; now 
and then a carrier's wagon, drawn by a heavily-trotting 
horse with bells on his collar, jolted by, or the trap of a 
town-traveller returning from the home-circuit, driven 
by an ill-dressed hobbledehoy with the traveller nodding 



MR. SCADGKItS PAYS A VISIT. 313 

bv his side, and the black-leather apron strapped over 
the back seat, to make the trap look as much like a 
phaeton as possible, rattled townward. But when, in 
obedience to the directions on a finger-post, Mr. Scad- 
gers turned out of the high-road up a long winding lane, 
fringed on either side by high hedges, on which " Au- 
tumn's fiery finger" had been laid only to increase their 
beauty a thousand-fold, where not a sound broke the 
stillness save his own footfall and the occasional chirping 
of the birds, he seemed for the first time to awake to the 
beauty of the scene. Climbing to the top bar of a gate 
in the hedge on the top of a little eminence, he seated 
himself, took off the big hat, mopped himself violently 
with the red-silk handkerchief, and looked round on the 
panorama of meadow and woodland, with tiny silver 
threads of water here and there interspersed, until his 
heart softened and he had occasion to rub the silver head 
of the ruler-like stick into his eyes. 

"Lor' bless me!" he muttered to himself; "it's like 
Yorkshire, and yet prettier than that; softer and quieter 
like. More than twenty years since I've seen any thing 
like this. And poor Ann ! Daisy-chains we used to 
make in Fairlow's mead, just like that field there, when 
we was little children ; daisy-chains and buttercups, and 

poor Ann! And to think what I'm now a-goin' to 

Lord help us! well, it is a rum world!" with which 

sage though incoherent reflections Mr. Scadgers resumed 
the big hat, dismounted from the gate, and continued 
his walk. 

As he proceeded up the lane, he began to take par- 
ticular notice of the objects by which he was more im- 
mediately surrounded ; and on hearing the tramp of 
hoofs he peered through the hedge, and saw strings of 
horses, each mounted by its groom, at exercise. At 
these animals Mr. Scadgers looked with a by no means 
uncritical eye, and seemed satisfied, for he muttered, 
'• Good cattle and plenty of 'em too; looks like business 
that. "Wise head she has; I knew it would turn out all 
right." When he arrived at the lodge, he stopped in 



314 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

front of the gates and looked scratinisingly about him, 
then rang the bell, and stared hard but pleasantly at the 
buxom woman who stood curtseying with the gate in 
her hand. Inside, Mr. Scadgers noticed that every thing 
looked neat and prosperous ; he did not content himself 
with going straight up the carriage-drive, but diverged 
across the lodge-keeper's garden, and peered into the 
little farmyard, where the mastiff came out of his ken- 
nel to scan the stranger, and where two or three helpers, 
lounging on the straw-ride, or polishing bits as they 
leant against the stable-doors, mechanically knuckled 
their foreheads as he passed by. Arriving at the house, 
Mr. Scadgers found the front-door open; but a pull at 
the bell brought a staid, middle-aged woman (Kate Mel- 
lon, for it was The Den which Mr. Scadgers was visiting, 
never could stand what she called "flaunting hussies," as 
servants), by whom he was ushered into the pretty little 
hall, hung with its antlers, its foxes' brushes, and its 
sporting picture, and into the dining-room. There he 
was left by himself to await the coming of the owner 
of the house. 

Now Mr. Scadgers, though by no means a nervous 
or impressible man, seemed on this occasion to have lost 
his ordinary calm, and to be in a very excitable state. 
He laid the big hat carefully on the table, refreshed 
himself with a thorough mop with the red-silk handker- 
chief, and rubbed his hands through his stubbly black 
hair; then he walked up and down the room, alternately 
sucking the silver head of the ruler-like stick, and mut- 
tering incoherencies to himself, and ever and anon he 
would stop short in his perambulations and glance at 
the door with an air almost of fright. The door at 
length was opened with a bang, and Kate Mellon entered 
the room. The skirt of her dress was looped up, and 
showed a pair of red-striped stockings and large, though 
well-shaped, thick Balmoral boots; she had a driving- 
whip in one hand and on the other a strong dogskin 
gauntlet, stretched and stained. Her face was flushed, 
her eyes bright, and the end of her hair was just escaping 



ME. SCADGERS PAYS A VISIT. 315 

from the light knot into which it had been bound. With 
a short nod to her visitor, at whose personal appearance 
she gave a glance of astonishment, she began the conver- 
sation by asking what his pleasure was. 

If Mr. Scadgers' behaviour had been somewhat pecu- 
liar before her entrance, it was now ten times more re- 
markable. At first he stood stock-still with his mouth 
open, gazing at her with distended eyes; then he fell to 
nodding his head violently and rubbing his hands as if 
thoroughly delighted, and then looked her up and down 
as though he were mentally appraising each article of 
dress. 

"What's the man up to?" said Kate, after under- 
going a minute of this inspection; "come, none of this 
tomfoolery here. What do you want?" 

Recalled to himself by the sharp tone in which these 
words were uttered, Mr. Scadgers fell into his usual 
state, bowed, and said he had called by appointment. 

" By appointment?" said Kate; "oh, ah, I recollect 
now. You overcharged me for two horses and a dog in 
the list for last year. I filled up your form-thing fairly 
enough; why didn't you go by that?" 

"Two horses and a dog!" repeated Mr. Scadgers. 
" There's some mistake, miss ; my name's Scadgers." 

"Lord, that is a good 'un!" said Kate, dropping the 
whip and clapping her hands in an ecstasy of laughter. 
" I thought you were the man about the taxes that I've 
sent for to come to me, too. So your name's Scadgers, 
is it? I've heard of you, sir; you get your living in a 
queer way." 

" Pretty much the same as you and the rest of the 
world, I believe," said Scadgers, pleasantly ; — " by the, 
weakness of human natur'!" 

" Which you take a pretty considerable advantage of, 
eh?" 

"Well, I don't know: a gent wants money and he 
hears I've got it, and he conies to me for it. I don't 
seek him, — he seeks me; I tell him what he'll have to 
pay for it, and he agrees. He has the money, and he 



31 C BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

don't return it ; and when he goes through the Court 
and it all comes out, people cry, ' Oh, Scadgers again! 
oh, the bloodsucker! here's iniquity!' and all the rest of 
the gammon. If people wants luxuries, miss, they must 
pay for 'em, as you know well enough." 

This was not said in the least offensively, but in a 
quiet earnest manner, as though the man had real belief 
in what he stated, and saw no harm in the calling he 
was defending. Kate, who had a pretty shrewd know- 
ledge of character, saw this at once, and felt more kindly 
disposed to her new acquaintance than she had at first. 

" Well," she said, " what's sauce for the goose is 
sauce for the gander, they say; and it's not my business 
to preach to you, and you wouldn't heed it if I did. I 
got you to come here on business. You hold some ac- 
ceptances of Mr. James Prescott's?" 

" That's true, miss; I've got 'em here in my pocket- 
book." 

"What's the amount?" 

"The total, one seventy-five; cab-hire and loss of 
time, say one seventy-five ten six." 

" Hand them over, and I'll write you a cheque." 

" Well," said Mr. Scadgers, slowly, " we don't gene- 
rally take cheques in these matters, — it ain't business; 
they mightn't be paid, you know, — but I don't mind 
doing it for you." 

Something in the tone of this last sentence which 
struck oddly on Kate Mellon's ear, — a soft tender tone 
of almost parental affection ; a tone which seemed to 
bring back memory of past days. She looked up hurri- 
edly, but Mr. Scadgers' swivel-eye was fixed on the wall 
above her head; and in the rest of his countenance there 
was no more emotion visible than on the face of a Dutch 
clock. Kate Mellon took out her desk and wrote the 
cheque. 

"There!" she said, handing it to him, — "there's 
your money ; hand over the bills. All right! Now, two 
things more. One, you'll swear never to let Mr. Pres- 
cott know who paid this money. Good! The other, if 



MR. SCADGERS PAYS A VISIT. 317 

ever he comes to you for help again — I don't think he 
will, mind; but if he does — you'll refuse him, and let me 
know." 

" That's what they all say," said Mr. Scadgers, " ' if 
they come again, refuse 'em;' and they do come again, 
and I don't refuse 'em, — that is if I think they're good 
for the money, — but I'll swear I'll do it for you." 

" I believe you," said Kate, simply. " Now, have 
some lunch before you go." 

"No, thank you," said. Scadgers, "no lunch; but I 
should like a glass of wine to drink your health in." 

" You shall have it, and welcome," said she, ringing 
the bell; "and I'll have one with you, for I was at the 
dumb-jockey business when you came in, and it rather 
takes it out of one." 

When the wine was brought, Kate filled two glasses, 
and, taking up one, nodded to Mr. Scadgers. " Here's 
luck," said she, shortly. Mr. Scadgers took his glass, 
and said; "The best of luck to you in every thing, and 
God bless you, my — miss, I mean! And now, I've heard 
a lot about your stable and place — would you mind my 
going round them, before I go?" 

"Mind!" said Kate; "I'll take you myself." And 
they walked into the farm together. 

" It was as much as I could do," said Mr. Scadgers 
to himself, as, half an hour afterwards, he walked down 
the lane on his way back to town — " it was as much as 
I could do to prevent throwing my arms round her neck 
and telling her all about it. What a pretty creetur' it 
is; and what spirit! I suppose she's nuts on young 
Prescott, and they'll be gettin' married. Lord! that 
would be a rum start if he ever knew — but he won't 
know, nor any of 'em ; we shall never let on. Woman 
of business too ; keeps accounts I noticed, when she 
opened her desk; and all the place in such order; kept 
as neat as a draAving-room those stables. Well, that's 
Dne thing you did right, John Scadgers, and one you 
won't be sorry for some day." 



S18 BROKEK TO HARNESS. 

" That's a queer customer," said Kate to herself, as 
she stood in the lane by the lodge-gate, looking after his 
receding figure. " A very queer customer. What a grip 
he gave my hand when he said good-by ! My fingers 
ache with it still. And there was no nonsense about 
him ; I could see that in a minute. Where have I seen 
him before ? I've some sort of recollection of him ; but 
I can't fit it to any thing particular — he's not in the horse- 
line, and he's not a swell ; so I don't see where I can 
have come across him. Glad he looked in this morning, 
for I was precious dull : I can't make out what this 
weight is that's hanging over me for the last few days, 
just as though something was going to happen. I think 
another glass of Madeira would do me good ; but I pro- 
mised Simnel I'd knock that off. I wonder what's come 
of Simnel for the last few days. That old Scadgers 
seemed to know something about this place, noticed the 
alterations in the five-acre meadow ; and when I asked 
him, said he remembered the place when it was Myrtle 
Farm. I must ask Simnel about him, he — Lord, how 
depressed and stupid I feel again !" She turned back 
and fastened the gate after her. One of the gatekeeper's 
chubby children came running out to meet her, and she 
caught the little thing up in her arms, and carried it 
into the lodge. As she was putting it down she heard 
the tramp of horses' feet, and raising her head, looked 
through the window. The next instant her cheeks flushed 
scarlet ; she dropped the child into a chair, and rushing 
to the gate, threw it open, and stood gazing down the 
road. 

Yes, it was he ! no mistaking his figure, even if she 
had not recognised the horse. It was he riding so close 
to the lady by his side, bending over her and looking 
down into her upturned face. So preoccupied that he 
never even bestowed a glance upon the place so well 
known to him, so frequently visited in bygone days. 
And she, who was she ? Kate could see that she was 
slim, could see her fair hair gathered in a knot beneath 
Mr hat, — it must be the woman of whom Simnel had 



MR. SCADGEIIS TAYS A VISIT. 3 19 

epoken. And Kate Mellon gave a loud groan, and 
clenched her nails into the palms of her hands, and 
stood looking after them with quivering lips and a face 
as pale as death. 

Just at that moment two grooms came riding round 
the corner, side by side. The sound of their horses' feet 
recalled Kate to herself. She looked up, and in one of 
them recognised Beresford's man. She collected herself 
by a great effort, and beckoned to him. The man saw 
her, touched his hat, and rode up at once, leaving his 
companion to proceed by himself. 

"William," said Kate, "who's that lady riding with 
your master ?" 

" Mrs. Schroder, miss ; Saxe-Coburg Square. Mr. 
Schroder drives pair of chestnuts, miss, in mail-pheay- 
ton, plain black harness. May have noticed 'em ; often in 
the Park, miss." 

" Ah ! No ; I think not. Schroder, — Saxe-Coburg 
Square, you said ?" 

" Yes, miss. Beg pardon, miss," added the man, who 
had himself been formerly in Kate's service, and by whom, 
as by all of his fraternity, she was adored, — beg pardon,, 
miss ; but nothing wrong, is there ? You're looking 
uncommon ill, miss." 

" No," said Kate, with a ghastly smile. " I'm all 
right, thank you, William. Good-day i ride on !" and 
William, touching his hat, clapped spurs to his horse, 
and rode off. 

That night the mail-cart was waiting outside the 
little village post-office, and the old woman was just 
huddling the letters into the bag, when a groom came 
up at a hand-gallop, and dismounting, gave in a letter,, 
saying, 

"Just in time, Mrs. Mallins, I think !" 

The old woman peered at him over her spectacles. 

" Oh, it's you, Thomas, is it ? Well, I'll take a letter 
from your mistress, though I'm not bound to do it by 
the reflations. You're after time, Thomas." 



320 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" I know, Mrs. Mailing ; but Miss Kate said 'twere 
most particular. And I were to tell you so, and — " 

" Air you comin' with that bag ?" growled the mail- 
cart driver, putting his head into the shop. 

" All right, my man ! all right !" said the old lady, 
handing him the bag. " There it is. Thomas, you can 
tell your lady she was in time." 

Half an hour afterwards KateMellon's servant looked 
into the dining-room. There was no light, and she was 
about to withdraw, when she heard her mistress's voice 
say, " What is it ?" 

" Oh, nothing, ma'am ; only Thomas says the letter 
was in time." 

" Very well," said Kate. Then, when the door was 
shut again, she muttered between her clenched teeth : 
" It's clone now, and can't be undone ! Now, Master 
Charley, look out for yourself !" 



CHAPTER XXX. 

AFTER THE STORM. 

As you sit in the bow- window of your comfortable lodg- 
ing at your favourite watering-place during your annual 
autumn holiday, your breakfast finished and the debris 
removed, the newspaper rustling idly on your knees, and 
the first and pleasantest pipe of the day between your 
lips, you look up and see the aspect of affairs in the little 
street below very much changed from its normal state. 
The pleasure-boats — the Lively Nancy, which sails so 
regularly at eleven a.m. with a cargo of happy excursion- 
ists, and which arrives in port at irregular intervals vary- 
ing from one to three, laden with leaden-coloured men 
and hopelessly-bedraggled fainting women ; the William 
and Ellen, in which you go out to catch codling and 
plaice; and all the other little craft usually stationed on 
the beach — have been bodily removed, their owners and 
touters are drinking rum and smoking shag-tobacco in 
evil-smelling little public-houses, and their customers 
have no notion of putting them into requisition. The 
bathing-machines, — those cumbrous vehicles in which 
you have so often made that dread journey into the 
ocean, after being bidden to " stand by" while the horse 
gives his first awful jerk and afterwards dashes you 
against the sides of your travelling-prison, while you 
catch horribly-distorted glimpses of your wretched coun- 
tenance in the miserable little sixpenny looking-glass 
pendant from the rusty nail and swinging here and 
there like a live thing convulsed, — the bathing-machines 
have all been dragged from the spot where they ordi- 
narily stand like a row of hideous guardians of the coast, 

Y 



322 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

and have defiantly taken possession of one side of the 
little main street. The place where the German band 
subsidised by the town usually pours forth its perpetual 
iteration of the "Faust" waltz is now covered with 
roaring plunging waves, thick brown walls of water 
rearing their white crests a hundred yards off, as if in 
survey of their ultimate goal, tearing madly onward, 
gathering in size and strength at every stride, and at 
length discharging themselves with a thunder-crash in a 
blinding avalanche of spray. These waves, this roaring 
seething mass of trembling turgid water, is the great 
attraction to-day. In vain the monkey on the three- 
legged table clashes his cymbals, or plies the ramrod of 
Ms gun with frantic energy ; in vain* the good-looking 
Italian boy, his master, shows his gleaming teeth or 
touches his hat to attract attention ; in vain the High- 
lander blows discord into his bagpipes until all the 
neighbouring dogs possessing musical ears are howling 
in misery. Nobody cares for anything but the sea to- 
day ; the little parade is thronged with visitors all gazing 
seaward, all rapt in attention on the boiling waters ; at 
one point, where the waves dash in and sweep over the 
solid masonry, boys rush in between the ebb and flow, 
returning happy if they have escaped, happier if they 
have been soaked by the spray. People look out all 
round and scan the horizon to see if there be any craft 
in sight, inspired with that singular feeling which only 
Rochefoucauld has dared to define, the feeling which 
sends crowds to watch Blondin's walk upon the high-rope, 
or the performances of a lion-tamer, — the feeling which, 
in a lesser extent, originates the sensation-loving element 
in us, and which is about the lowest in degraded human 
nature. Far away, at the end of the worm-eaten sea- 
besoaked jetty, is a little cluster of fishermen in dread- 
naught and sou'-westers, patiently watching the weather, 
which to them is no toy nor amusement, but that on 
which hang their hopes of daily bread ; and they will 
tell you if you ask them, that these big breakers thunder- 
ing on to the shore are the result of some great storm 



AFTER THE STORM. 323 

that has taken place far away in the heart of the Atlan- 
tic ; and that though the tempest is probably over now, 
these creations of its fury, these evidences of its wrath, 
will continue to roll and surge and foam for days to 
come. 

So it was with the Adullam-Street household and its 
surroundings. The storm that had swept through it 
had been short, sharp, and decisive; but the traces of its 
wrecking power were visible long, long after it had past. 

At first it seemed quite impossible for Frank Chur- 
chill to understand the extent of the misery which had 
fallen upon him. However roseate might have been the 
dreams, in which he had indulged, of the blisses of ma- 
trimony, he had lived too long in the world not to know 
that few indeed were the couples whose lives were not 
checkered by some occasional difference. These, he had 
been told, generally occurred in the early portion of a 
matrimonial career, while the two persons were each un- 
accustomed to the peculiarities of the other, and while 
ignorance was, to a great extent, supported and backed 
up by obstinacy and pride. The unwillingness of each 
to give way would eventually result in a clash, whence 
would arise one of those domestic differences popularly 
known as " tiffs," in which the actors, though horribly 
wretched in themselves and disagreeable to each other, 
were supremely ridiculous to the rest of the world, which 
either affected to be blind or sympathising, and in either 
case was sniggering in its sleeve at the absurdity of the 
scene. But these little sparring-matches were usually of 
short duration; and though a constant repetition of 
them might have a triturating effect upon the original 
foundation of love and constancy, yet Churchill had 
noticed that long before such a fatal result occurred, the 
sharp angles and points had generally become gradually 
rounded off and rubbed down, and the machine had 
begun to work harmoniously and with regularity. At all 
events no open scandal took place. That open scandal, 
if not an actual healer of wounds, is a rare anodyne to 
impulsive spirits and hearts, thumping painfully against 



324 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the tightened chain which day by day, with corroding 
teeth, is eating its way into their core. Exposure, 
publicity in the press, Mrs. Grundy — these are the 
greatest enemies of the Divorce-Court lawyers ; heavy 
though the list of cases standing over for hearing may 
be, it would be fifty times heavier could the proceedings 
be kept secret. Hundreds of couples now living toge- 
ther, hating each other " with the hate of hell;" scowling, 
carping, badgering, wearing, maddening, to desperation 
driving, from the hour they rise till the hour they retire 
to rest and fall asleep, — the one cursing his life, the 
other feebly bemoaning her fate, or openly defiant, " each 
going their own way;" a state of being more horrible, 
loathsome, and pitiable even than the other, — would be 
disunited, were it not for the public scandal. " For the 
sake of the children," for the scandal which would bo 
entailed on their offspring, Mrs. Emilia will not leave 
Mr. Iago ; and so they continue to live together, while 
the children are daily edified spectators of the manner in 
which their father treats their mother, and listen to the 
constantly-renewed expression of Mrs. Emilia's wish in 
reference to the possession of that whip with which to 
lash the rascal (their father) naked through the world. 

The exposure — the public scandal ! To no one had 
these words more terror in their sound than to Frank 
Churchill. All his life he had shrunk from every chance 
of notoriety: had gloried in being able to work anony- 
mously; not for the sake of shirking any responsibility, 
not from the slightest doubt of the right and truth and 
purity of whatever cause he might be advocating: but 
because, when he had shot his bolt, and hit his mark, as 
he generally did, he could stand calmly by and mark the 
result, without being deafened by empty pseans or sickened 
by false flattery. His horror of publicity had been ex- 
treme; he had invariably refused all details of his history 
to contemporary biographers, and had never been so 
deeply disgusted as when he saw some of his work 
tracked home to its author by the gossipping correspon- 
dent of a provincial paper. It was good work, too — 



AFTER THE STORM. 325 

work creditable to his brain and his heart; yet had it 
been penny-a-lining written to order, he could not have 
been more annoyed at being accredited with it. And now 
the full garish eye of day was to be let into the inmost 
recesses of his heart's sanctuary ! " Break lock and seal, 
betray the trust !" let the whole world revel in the details. 
A domestic scandal, and one besmirching a man who, 
despite of himself, had made some name in the world, 
and a woman whose triumphs had rung through society, 
was exactly the thing which the "many-headed beast" 
would most delight in prying into and bandying about. 
The details? — there were no details; none, at least, 
which the world would ever hear of, or which would give 
the smallest explanation of the result. There was the 
fact of the separation, and nothing more; what led to it 
must be the work of conjecture, and people would invent 
all kinds of calumny about him; and — great Heaven ! — 
about her. The lying world, with its blistering tongue, 
would be busy with her name, warping, twisting, invent- 
ing every thing — perhaps imputing shame to her, to her 
whose shield he should have been, to her whom he 
should have protected from every blow. 

And here must be exhibited one of the flaws in Frank 
Churchill's by-no-means-perfect character. His wife had 
taken a step which nothing could excuse, had given way 
to her passion; and, in obedience to the promptings of 
rage and jealousy, had done him an irreparable wrong, 
and covered them both with a reproach which would 
cling to them for life, — all this without any thing like 
adequate provocation on his part; so that he had been 
shamefully treated, and, had he been properly heroic, 
would have a fair claim upon your compassion, if not 
your admiration. But the truth is he was anything but 
a hero ; notwithstanding the manner in which his hopes 
had been blighted and his life wrecked, notwithstanding 
his having been deserted in that apparently heartless 
way by his wife, — he loved her even then with a pas 
sionate devotion; and when he thought of her, perhaps 
vilified and calumniated, without her natural protector, 



32b BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

wretched and perhaps solitary, he had almost determined 
to fling his pride — nay, what he knew to be his duty — to 
the winds, to rush after her and implore her to come 
back to his home, and to do with him what she would. 
Of course nothing could have been more degrading to 
him than such a proceeding, and it was fortunate that 
good advice was coming to him in the person of his 
mother. 

Coming in to pay her usual afternoon visit, the old 
lady walked straight to the study, and after tapping 
lightly at the door with her parasol-handle, she opened it 
and went in. She found her son seated at his desk, his 
head buried in his hands, which were supported by the 
projecting arms of the chair. His legs were stretched 
out before him, and he seemed lost in thought. He 
did not change his position at his mother's entrance, not 
until she addressed him by name; when, on raising his 
head, she saw the dull whiteness of his cheeks, and the 
bistre rings round his eyes. She noticed too that his 
hands shook, and on touching them they were hot and 
dry. 

" My boy," said the old lady, gently, " you're not well, 
I'm afraid! what's the matter with you? too much of this 
horrid work, or — why, good God, Frank, there are marks 
of tears on your face ! What is the matter, — what has 
happened ?" 

" Nothing, mother, — nothing to me at least, — don't 
be alarmed, dearest; I'm all right enough." 

" Then Barbara's ill !" said Mrs. Churchill, rising 
from the seat she had taken. " I'll go to her at once, 
poor thing — " 

"You wouldn't find her, mother!" said Prank, in a 
very hollow voice. " She's not upstairs; she's gone!" 

" Cone ! Gone where ?" asked the old lady. 

" Cone away — left me — gone away for ever !" and as 
the thought of his desolation broke with renewed force 
upon him, his voice nearly failed him, and it was with 
great difficulty that he prevented himself from breaking 
down. 



AFTER THE STORM. 327 

" Left you — gone away — eloped !" cried the old lady, 
in whose mind there suddenly arose a vision of a yellow 
post-chaise, with four horses and two postillions, and 
Barbara inside, with Captain Lyster looking out of the 
window. 

"No, no; not so bad as that," said Frank;, "though 
horrible enough, in all conscience;" and he gave his 
mother a description of the scene which had occurred. 

.Is Mrs. Churchill listened, it was plain to see that 
she was greatly moved; her hands trembled, and tears 
burst from her eyes and stole down her cheeks. As the 
story proceeded, two feelings were struggling for the 
mastery within her — one, pity for her son; the other, 
indignation at her son's wife. The old lady, although 
now so quiet and retiring and simple, had lived in the 
world, and knew the ways and doings, the inns and outs, 
of its denizens. She had had tolerable experience of 
man's inconstancy, of his proneness to sin, of his exposure 
to flattery, and liability to temptation. Had Frank con- 
fessed some slight flirtation with a pretty girl, some 
beneficence towards a female acquaintance of bygone 
times, she would have thought that Barbara had acted 
with worse than rashness in taking so decided a step; 
but now, when Frank told her that the letter which had. 
provoked the final eruption was one which — had he not 
been pledged by its writer to be silent concerning, 
pledge given long before he had made Barbara's ac- 
quaintance — might have been read before the world, she 
believed her son fully, and could form no judgment too 
severe on Barbara's conduct. She was no vain-glorious 
Pharisee, to tell of the tithes she had given, the good she 
had done; no humbler-minded sinner poured out a nightly 
tale of shortcomings and omissions to the Great Father : 
but when she thought of her own married life, when she 
recollected all Vance Churchill's frailties, all his drinking 
bouts and intrigues, all his carelessness and idleness, his 
neglect of his wife, his pettish waywardness, and constant 
self-indulgence ; when she compared all this with Frank's 
calm, steady, laborious, good life, and recollected that 



328 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

under all her provocation her husband had scarcely so 
much as a harsh word from her, she felt that Barbara's 
conduct had been outrageous indeed. 

She said nothing at first, though her heart was full. 
With the tears rolling down her cheeks, she rose from 
her chair, and, taking up her position by her son, fell to 
smoothing his hair and passing her hand lightly over his 
brow, as she had done — oh, how many thousand times ! 
— when he was a child; muttering softly, "My poor boy! 
oh, my poor boy!" The gentler spirit which had taken 
possession of Frank just before his mother's entrance 
grew and expanded under her softening touch. He felt 
like some swimmer who, after a prolonged buffet with 
the angry waves, feels his feet, and knows that a few 
more strokes will bring him rest and home. There was 
a chance of nipping this wretched scandal in its bud, 
which was much ; there was a chance of bringing his 
beloved to his side once more, which was all in all. 
After a time he broke the silence, cautiously sounding 
the depths. 

" Do you think there's any chance of this horrible 
business being put straight, mother?" he asked. 

" We are in the hands of God, my boy," replied the 
old lady, fervently. " Time is the great anodyne. He 
may think fit to have it all set right in the course of 
time." 

"Yes; but— I mean — you don't think it could be 
settled at once — to-night, I mean?" 

" If she were to come back to-night, which she will 
not, and confess that her miserable pride and jealousy 
had driven her forth in a mad fit, and were to ask par- 
don, and be as she ought to be — God knows — humble 
and contrite, I would say let there be an end of it; for- 
get it all, and strive to live happier for the future. But 
if she remains away to-night — well, I don't know what 
to say;" and the old lady heaved a very intelligible sigh 
— a sigh which meant that in such an event the worst 
had arrived. 

" Yes," said Frank ; his mind still dwelling on the 



AFTER THE STORM. 329 

little course he had proposed to himself, — "yes, of course, 
you don't think it would be right, then, to go to her — " 

•'• Go to her!" echoed the old lady. 

" Yes, go to her, and tell her how utterly wrong she 
had been — that there was not the slightest foundation 
for her suspicions; and that she had acted most unjusti- 
fiably in quitting her husband's house in the manner she 
has done; and — " 

Old Mrs. Churchill had been sitting as if petrified, 
with her lips wide apart, during the delivery of this sen- 
tence; at this point she thawed into speech. 

" Are you mad, Frank ? has your misfortune turned 
your brain? You propose to go to her, — this woman, who 
has brought contempt on you — and not only on you, on 
me and all our name, — and sue to her to come back, and 
box her ears playfully, and tell her what a naughty girl 
she has been ! Do you imagine that this affair is any 
longer a secret, that it has not been talked over already 
between Mrs. Schroder's maid and your servants, between 
your servants and the tradespeople? Don't you know 
it hat if your wife is absent from your house to-night, the 
doubt will become a certainty, and that to-morrow the 
whole neighbourhood will be ringing with it ? No !" 
continued the old lady; " it has come, and we must bear 
it. If that wicked girl — for I can't help feeling and say- 
ing that she is wicked in her present course— sees her 
error and repents, it will be your duty to forgive her and 
to take her back ; but as to your humbling yourself by 
going to her and asking her to return, it's not to be 
thought of for a moment." 

" I suppose you're right, mother," was all that Frank 
.-aid — " I suppose you're right: we'll wait and see whether 
she comes back to-night." 

So they Avaited, mother and son, through that long 
evening. The day died out, and the dusk came down, 
i.nd the lamps were lighted in the streets, and the pat- 
tering feet grew fewer and fewer; and still those two sat 
without speaking, without moving, immersed in their own 
thoughts; and still no Barbara returned. At length Mrs. 



330 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

Churchill, remembering that her son had had no dinner 
that day, grew tenderly solicitous about his health, and, 
crossing to him, raised his head and pressed her lips to 
his, and begged him to rouse himself and eat. And Prank, 
who felt himself gradually going mad with the one sad 
strain upon his thoughts, said : 

" No, mother— not here, at all events. I must shake 
this off, if only for a few minutes, or I shall go out of 
my mind. I'll take a turn in the air; and if I feel faint 
or to want any thing, I'll go to the Club and get it. You 
go home and to bed, dearest; for you must be thoroughly 
knocked up with all my worries, which you are compelled 
to share; she won't come back to-night — it's all over now; 
and to-morrow we must face the future, and see what 
we're to do with the rest of our lives." 

So they kissed again, and then went out together: 
Frank with a dead, dull, wearying pain at his heart; and 
his mother, sad enough to see him so sad, but with some 
little consolation mingled with her grief at the feeling 
that this event was not unlikely to bring her and her son 
more together again; to give her the chance of being in 
more frequent and more affectionate communication with 
that being whom she worshipped next to her Creator; of 
enjoying that to her inexpressible delight, of having her 
son " all to herself" again. 

Leaving the old lady at the door of her lodgings, 
Frank strode on at a rapid pace, neither looking to the 
right nor to the left, seeing none of the people by whom 
he passed, thinking of nothing but his lost love. At 
length the long fasting he had undergone began to tell 
upon him, he felt sick and faint, and determined to go 
to his Club to get some refreshment, — not to the Flyby- 
nights; he could not have borne the noisy racket, the be- 
wildering chaff, of that circle of free-lances; so he strode 
steadily down to Pall Mall, and turned into the Eetrench- 
ment. Even that solemn temple of gastronomy and poli- 
tics was far too lively for him in his then mood. The 
coffee-room was filled with a number of men who had 
dined late, many of whom, just returned from their 



AFTER THE STORM. 3,°>1 

autumnal expeditions, and not having met for a couple 
of months, had " joined tables," and were loudly talking 
over their holiday experiences. All was light and lively 
and jolly; and Prank felt, as he sat in the midst of them, 
like the death's-head at the banquet. At one table close 
by his four men were sitting over their wine, one of the 
number being rallied by the rest about his approaching 
marriage. " You're a lucky fellow, by Jove, Hope !" Frank 
heard one of them say; " I always said Miss Chudleigh was 
the prettiest girl out since the Lexden's year." " What's 
become of the Lexden — didn't she get married or some- 
thing?'' asked another. " Oh, yes!" answered the first — 
"married a man who's a member here!. I don't know 
him; but a cleverish fellow, I believe. No tin — regular 
case of spoons, they said it was." " Mistake that!" said 
the fiance, whose future father-in-law was a wealthy 
brewer ; " spoons is all very well, but it wants some- 
thing to back it." " Ah, but it's not every one that has 
your luck," said old Tommy Orme, who just then joined 
the party — " nor, I will say, Hope, it isn't every one that 
deserves it, by Jove!" and on the strength of that speech, 
old Tommy determined to borrow a ten-pound note from 
his friend on the first opportunity. Frank shuddered as 
he listened, and bent his head over his cutlet. " Was 
there any thing in what those men had said?" he asked 
himself, as he walked home. Could it have been that the 
state of comparative poverty into which he had brought 
his wife had soured her temper, rendered her jealous and 
querulous, and so disgusted her as to cause her to avail 
herself of the first excuse which presented itself for re- 
turning to her former life? It might be so, indeed. If 
it were, Frank was not disposed to think of her very un- 
charitably: he knew the whole wealth of love which he had 
bestowed upon her; but he thought that her bringing-up 
might perhaps have rendered her incapable of appreciat- 
ing it ; and he went to his solitary bed with a feeling of 
something more than pity for his absent wife, after im- 
ploring peace to and pardon for them both in his prayers. 
The evening of the next day, however, found him in 



332 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

a very different frame of mind. Not one word had been 
heard from Barbara; and the fact of her absence, and the 
manner of her departure, had been thoroughly well dis- 
cussed throughout the neighbourhood. Early in the 
morning, Frank, with the conviction that all must even- 
tually be known, had removed the seal from his mother's 
lips; and the old lady's circumstantial account, softened 
as much as her conscience would allow, — for she felt 
really more strongly than she had admitted about Bar- 
bara's defection, — was detailed to various knots of fa- 
miliar friends throughout the day. The astonishment 
of the Mesopotamians was immense; immense their hor- 
ror, deep the condemnation they poured upon the peccant 
one. The good women of the district could not realise 
what had occurred. If Barbara had eloped, they would 
have had some slight glimmering of it ; though an elope- 
ment was a thing which in their idea only occurred in 
highly aristocratic families. They had heard through the 
medium of the newspapers, stories of postchaise followed 
by postchaise speeding along the northern road, guilty 
wife and " gay Lothario" (Mesopotamian phrase for cava- 
lier villany varying from seduction to waltzing) in the 
one, injured husband in the other. But how a woman 
could take herself off, leave her home and her husband, 
and send a servant for her things afterwards, my dear, as 
cool as if she were going by the railway train, — that beat 
them altogether. But though they could not understand, 
they could condemn, and did, in most unmeasured terms. 
Whatever the motive might have been, and the most 
energetic among them could not find in what was said 
any thing particularly damnifying ("in what is said, my 
dear; but I'm sure there must be something behind all 
this that we don't know of, but which will come out some 
day"), — whatever the motive might have been, there was 
the fact; that could not be got rid of or explained away: 
Mrs. Frank Churchill had left her home and was not 
living with her husband. What more or less could you 
make of that? Some of them had seen it in her from 
the first. 



AFTER THE STORM. 333 

There was something — one section said, in her eye, 
another in her manner — which showed discontent, or 
worse. " Something" in her walk which displeased many 
of them greatly — " as though the ground she trod upon 
was not good enough for her," they said. And she who 
had held her head so high, for whom none of them were 
good enough, had come to this. Well, if being a fine 
lady and being brought up amongst great people led to 
that, thank goodness they were. as they were. 

Mrs. Harding had been one of the earliest to receive 
old Mrs. Churchill's confidence, and had been so much 
astonished and impressed by what she heard, that she at 
once returned home and proceeded to rouse her husband, 
then peacefully sleeping off his hard night's work. It 
must have been something quite out of the common to 
have prompted such a step, as George Harding was never 
pleased at having his hard-earned rest broken in upon; 
but on this occasion his wife thought she had a complete 
justification. So she went softly into the closed room, 
undrew the curtains and let in the full morning sun; 
then she shook the sleeper's shoulder and called " George!" 
Harding roused himself at once and demanded what was 
the matter; he always had an idea, when suddenly awak- 
ened from sleep, that something had happened to the 
paper, either an Indian mail omitted, or a leader of the 
wrong politics inserted, or something equally dreadful in 
its result; and he had scarcely got his eyes fairly open, 
when his wife said, " Oh, my dear, such a terrible thing 
for poor Churchill!" 

" What do you mean?" asked George, broad-awake in 
an instant; " nobody ill?" 

" Oh, no, my dear ; much better if it were. She's 
gone, my dear !" 

" Who's gone ; what on earth do you mean ?" and 
then his wife told him the story circumstantially. And 
after hearing it George Harding dressed himself at once 
and went out to see his friend. 

He found Churchill sitting in his little study, looking 
vacantly before him. There were no signs of work on 



334 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the desk, no book near him; he had evidently been sit- 
ting for some time in a state of semi-stupor. He was 
very pale ; but he looked up at the opening of the door 
and smiled faintly when he saw who it was. There was 
something so cheery in dear old G-eorge Harding's pre- 
sence, that it shed light wherever he went, no matter how 
dark the surroundings: men who, as they knelt by the 
coffins of their wives, had prayed to God to take them 
then and there, — men who, contemplating the ruin sweep- 
ing down upon them, had horribly suggestive thoughts 
of the laudanum-bottle or the pistol-barrel, — had felt the 
dark clouds pass away at the sound of his genial voice 
and the sight of his hopeful face. But there were tears 
in George Harding's gray eyes as he took his friend's 
hand, and his voice shook a little as he said, " My dear 
old Frank ! my poor dear fellow !" 

" I'm hard hit, Harding, and that's the truth. You've 
heard all about it, of course ?" Frank asked nervously, 
fearing he might have again to recount the miserable 
history. 

" Yes, my wife has told me, — she heard it from your 
mother, I believe, — and I came on at once. Do you know 
I'm horribly afraid, Frank, that it was from your taking 
my advice that this quarrel took place?" 

" Your advice?" 

" Yes, about tightening the curb. I told you, if you 
recollect, that I thought there should be a greater amount 
of firmness and decision in your manner to Mrs. Churchill, 
and — " 

" Oh, you need not be anxious on that score; it must 
have come sooner or later; and it's come sooner, that's 
all !" 

" And what are you going to do?" 

" Do ? what do sensible men do when they have 
troubles ? Grin and bear them, don't they ? And so 
shall I. I can't live alone; so I shall instal my mother 
here again, and, I suppose, all will — will be pretty much 
as it was eighteen months ago." 

" I was afraid from what my wife said, that I should 



AFTER THE STORM. 335 

find you in some such mood as this," said Harding sternly. 
' ; One would think you were mad, Frank Churchill, to 
hear you talk such stuff. Don't you know that Mrs. Chur- 
chill is as much your wife before God and man as she ever 
was? Don't you feel that she has done nothing for which 
even the wretched laws which we in our mighty wisdom 
have chosen to frame would justify you in treating her 
in this way? I can understand it all; you've been worked 
upon by the chatter and magging of these silly women 
until you've lost your own calm common-sense. But 
don't you feel now, Frank, that I'm right? Don't you 
feel that a fit of rage, a mere wretched passing temper, 
is not the thing to separate those whom — you know I 
use it in no canting sense — those whom God has joined 
together? Don't you feel that it is your duty to go to 
her, or to send — I'll go if you like, though it's not a very 
pleasant office — to point out to her the miserable folly of 
this course, and to bring her back to her proper place — 
her home?" 

" My dear Harding," said Frank quietly, " I know 
you are sincere in your advice, but it is impossible for 
me to take it. My wife has subjected me to a very great 
outrage ; and until that is explained and atoned for, I 
will never look upon or speak to her." 

Harding would have said something more, but Chur- 
chill raised his hand in deprecation, and then changed 
the subject. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE PAPER BULLET. 

Like the man and woman in the toy weather-house, Mr, 
Schroder's two houses never were " to the fore" at the 
same time. When the one was lighted, the other was 
gloomy; when the one was tenanted, the other was empty; 
when the one was decorated, the other was comfortless. 
As the second breath of summer came floating over Ken- 
sington Gardens, after the may- and apple-blossoms had 
disappeared, but long before dust and drouth had settled 
down on the greensward and the umbrageous walks of 
the parks; when there was evinced among young men a 
perpetual desire to dine at the Star-and-Garter at Rich- 
mond, and an undying hatred of passing the Sunday 
within the metropolis ; when Mr. Quartermaine began to 
wonder where he should stow all his visitors, and Mr. 
Skindle of the Orkney Arms began to think of biulding; 
when fashionable people thought it no more harm to sit 
in their carriages outside Grange's, than to call diamonds 
' dimonds,' or ribbon ' ribbin ;' when the Sunday-after- 
noon attendance at the Zoological Gardens began to ex- 
ceed the week-day; when green-peas began to have some 
taste, and asparagus to be something else beside stalk 
and stick, — then the glory of the Saxe-Coburg-Square 
establishment showed strong symptoms of waning. The 
usual amount of solemn dmner-party had been gone 
through; every body necessary had been asked to balls, 
music, and conversazioni; Mrs. Schroder's taste and Mr. 
Schroder's wealth had been exhibited constantly at the 
Opera and at some of the most fashionable gatherings in 
London; and one, if not both, of them longed for a little 



THE PAPER BULLET. 337 

quiet. This resulted in the renting of Uplands, when 
blank misery fell upon the establishment in Saxe-Coburg 
Square. All the ornaments and nicknacks were removed 
and put away; the chandeliers were shrouded in big hol- 
land bags; the shutters were put up; and the spurious 
Schroder ancestors scowled dimly from the wall oyer a 
great desert of dining-table, no longer shining with snowy 
damask or sparkling silver and glass. The staff of ser- 
vants, — the French cook and the Italian confectioner; 
the ponderous butler, so frequently mistaken by Mrs. 
Schroder's West-end friends for a City magnate; the so- 
lemn footman, large-whiskered, large-calved, ambrosial, 
and most offensive ; the lady's-maid and the buttons, — 
all, down to the kitchen-maid, who lived in a perpetual 
state of grease and dripping, and who was preparing her- 
self for " plain cook, good," in the Times column of 'Want 
Places,' — all went away into what the said kitchen-maid 
was heard to designate " that rubbiging country;" and 
an old woman, weird, puffy, dusty, with old black silk 
stitched about her head where her hair should have been, 
and with bits of beard sticking on her chin, came and 
took up her abode in the housekeeper's room and " kep' 
'ouse" herself. 

But when October was well set in, and the days grew 
short, and the showers not unfrequent; when, even if 
there were no showers, the heavy mists of morn and dews 
of night left the ground moist and dank and plappy; 
when weird night-winds rose and sighed Banshee-like 
over the hushed fields; when the lawn lost its soft ver- 
dure and grew brown and corrugated; when the trees, 
which during the summer had so picturesquely fringed 
the lawn and framed the distance, now gaunt and dismal, 
swayed mournfully to and fro, drearily rattling theil 
stripped limbs, — then a general inclination to return 
back to the comfort of London began to be manifested 
by all the inhabitants of Uplands. It was all very plea- 
sant when Mr. Schroder had spun his chestnuts up the 
leafy lanes, or over the breezy hills, in the summer ; but 
it was a very different thing when he had to come the 

z 



338 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

same road from town in a close carriage, with the rain 
pattering against the windows, and with no gas for the 
last three miles of the journey. It was dull work for 
Mrs. Schroder and whatever female companion she might 
happen to have, with nothing to do but yawn over novels, 
or listlessly thrum the piano, or watch the gardeners fill- 
ing their high barrows with dead leaves, and unceasingly 
sweeping the lawns and paths. She could have relieved 
her tedium by a little shopping, she thought; but there 
were no shops — at least what she called shops — within 
miles of Uplands. As to the servants, they all hated the 
place; there were no military for the females, and the 
policemen were all mounted patrols, who "just looked 
round at night on 'orseback, and never had no time for 
a gossip, or a bit of supper, or anythink friendly;" while 
the male domestics were removed from their clubs and 
all the other delights which a town-life afforded. So, to 
the great joy of all, the word was given to march; and 
the whole establishment descended on Saxe-Ooburg Square, 
leaving Uplands to the care of the Scotch gardener, who 
removed his wife and family up from one of the lodges, 
and encamped in the kitchen and adjacent rooms. 

Mrs. Schroder was by no means ill-pleased at the 
return to town. The moving gave her no trouble; she 
had merely to walk into her rooms and find every thing 
arranged for her; and she was in hopes that a salutary 
change would be effected in at least one arrangement 
which was beginning to worry her. The truth is, that 
during the last week of then stay at Uplands it had be- 
gun to dawn upon Mrs. Schroder that Charles Beres- 
ford's attentions were not what they should be. She 
had more than once endeavoured to think out the sub- 
ject; but her intellects were none of the brightest, and 
she got frightened, and either began to cry, or let every 
thing go by the board in the grand certainty that " it 
would be all right in the end." But of late she had felt 
the necessity of taking some steps to bring the acquaint- 
ance between her and her admirer to some proper footing. 
This had not come on her entirely of her own accord. 



THE TAPER BULLET. 839 

She had noticed that her husband (whose attentions to 
her increased day by day from the time when his heart 
seemed to soften so suddenly and so strangely towards 
her) seemed to regard the presence of the Commissioner 
Avith obvious impatience. Mr. Schroder never, indeed, 
said any thing to his wife on the subject; but he evi- 
dently chafed when Beresford was in the house: and if 
Mrs. Schroder and Beresford were at all thrown together 
apart from the general company, they were sure to see 
Mr. Schroder's eyes fixed upon them. Others of her 
friends had not been so reticent. Captain Lyster had 
hinted once or twice, what Barbara Churchill had several 
times roundly spoken out — that Beresford was a vanrien, 
whose attentions were compromising to any married wo- 
man; and that if he had the smallest spark of gentle- 
manly feeling in him, he would desist from paying them. 
So Mrs. Schroder, who was nothing but a very silly weak 
little woman (there are few women who are really bad, 
even among those who have erred : the Messalinas and 
the Lady Macbeths are very exceptional cases), and who 
really had a sincere affection for her husband, had made 
up her mind that she was behaving badly, and had 
determined to break gradually, but uncompromisingly, 
with Mr. Beresford and his attentions. She had been 
so completely hoodwinked by the fraternal relations 
which, at Mr. Simnel's suggestion, the Commissioner 
had cultivated, that it was not until immediately pre- 
vious to their quitting Uplands that she saw the danger 
she had been running, and felt horribly incensed with 
Mr. Beresford for his part in the affair. 

They had been back for some days in Saxe-Coburg 
Square, and Alice Schroder was nestling in her easy- 
chair after luncheon, wondering when the opportunity 
would occur in which she could plainly point out to Mr. 
Beresford that he must altogether alter his conduct for 
the future, when Mrs. Churchill was announced, and 
Barbara entered the room. 

She was very pale, walked very erect, and held out 
her two hands to Alice as she advanced. 



340 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" Why, Barbara ! Barbara darling !" said impulsive 
little Alice, " I'm so delighted to — why, what's the mat- 
ter, dear ? how strange and odd you look !" 

" I want you to have me here for a few days, Alice, 
if you will." 

"Why, of course, dear! I'm so glad you've come 
at last; it wasn't for the want of asking, you know. 
And Mr. Churchill will be here to dinner, dear, at seven, 
eh?" 

" Mr. Churchill will not come at all, Alice," said Bar- 
bara very gravely. " I am here alone." 

" But he knows you've come here, doesn't he ?" 

" You don't understand me yet, Alice. I have left 
my husband." 

"Left your husband! oh, Barbara, how dreadful! 
how could you!" and Alice Schroder's face exhibited 
such signs of unmistakable terror, that for the first time 
the magnitude of the step she had taken, and the appa- 
rent impossibility of its recall, seemed to flash upon Bar- 
bara. A rush of tears blinded her eyes; and she held 
out her hands appealingly, as she said, " You — you don't 
shrink from me, Alice ?" 

Astonishment, nothing more, had caused Mrs. Schro- 
der's trepidation; in an instant she had rushed forward 
and wound her arms round Barbara's neck, saying, 
" Shrink from you, my darling ? why, what madness to 
suppose such a thing ! Where should you come but to 
my house, in such a case ? Besides, it's nothing, darling, 
I suspect, but a temporary little foolish quarrel. Mr. 
Churchill will be here to dinner, and take you home 
with him afterwards." 

But Barbara shook her head and burst into tears, 
saying that it was a matter which admitted of no com- 
promise and no amicable settlement. And then, between 
floods of crying, she told Alice the outline of the quarrel; 
dwelling specially upon Frank's refusal to give up the 
letter he had received, or to say who was his correspon- 
dent. Alice seemed deeply impressed with the atrocity 
of Frank's conduct, though she doubted whether she 



THE PAPER BULLET. 341 

herself would have had the courage to take such a de- 
cided step as leaving her home (" You always said I was 
wanting in spirit, Barbara; and indeed I should not 
have known where to go to"). She recollected Barbara's 
having been upset at a letter which had come to Frank 
at Bissett, before they were engaged; and she was full 
of " my's !" and general wonderment, as to who could 
have written both these mysterious epistles. 

" Very odd," she said — "very odd, and very unplea- 
sant. You're sure it was a woman's hand, dear ? People 
do make such mistakes about that sometimes. Most 
dreadful, indeed ! Well, that's one blessing, I've often 
thought, with Gustav, and is some compensation for his 
grayness and his being so much older, and that sort of 
thing. For grayness is better than jealousy, isn't it, 
dear ? and I'm sure it's pleasanter to think of your hus- 
band at whist than waltzing, as some of them do — whirl- 
ing about the room as though there were no such thing 
as the marriage service ! And letters too, that's awful ! 
I'm so glad you came here, Barbara darling; and so will 
Gustav be, when he comes in. We must tell him all 
about it. I tell him every thing now, he is so kind." 

He was very kind, this heavy-headed elderly German 
merchant. When he came in, his wife at once told him 
what had occurred; and when he met Barbara in the 
drawing-room, before dinner, he took her hands in both 
of his, and pressed his lips gravely on her forehead, and 
bade her welcome, and told her to consider his house as 
her home. For Mr. Schroder had, in his strange old- 
fashioned way, a very keen sense of honour and of the 
respect due to women; and he felt, from the story that 
had been told to him, that Barbara's feelings had to a 
certain extent been outraged. He had never held much 
^ood opinion of the literary craft : he could not under- 
stand a calling which did not employ clerks and keep 
ledgers and day-books, which did not minister to any 
absolute requirement, and which only represented some- 
thing visionary and fanciful. He shared in a very wide- 
spread notion that the morale of people engaged in that 



342 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

and similar pursuits was specially liable to deterioration; 
and he took what he understood to be Frank Churchill's 
defection from the paths of propriety as an indorsement 
of his idea, and a proof that he had been right in its 
adoption. He happened tt> let fall some remark to 
this effect, a few words only, and not strongly or sa- 
vagely put, but they had immense weight with Barbara 
Churchill. 

For they immediately recalled to her recollection her 
several interviews with her aunt, Miss Lesden, when she 
first announced the engagement with Frank, and she re- 
membered the acrimony with which the old lady had 
spoken of the class to which her intended husband be- 
longed. The very words her aunt had used were ringing 
in her ears. " If I were to see you with broken health, 
with broken spirits, ill-used, deserted — as is likely enough, 
for I know these people, — I would not lift one finger to 
help you after your degradation of me!" "For I know 
these people!" Too well she knew them, it appears, 
when she predicated what had actually occurred. Not 
deserted, though ; that at least could never be cast in 
her teeth. It was she who had taken the initiative; — 
she who had broken the bonds and — what could the 
world say to that? Would it not denounce her conduct 
as strange, unwomanly, and unwifelike? And if it did, 
what did she care? Her pride, her spirit, had often been 
spoken of; and she felt in no way ashamed of having 
permitted herself to be swayed by them in this great 
trial of her life. There must be many who would tho- 
roughly understand her conduct, and sympathise with 
her ; and even if there were none, she had the courage 
and the determination to stand alone. That she must 
to a great extent have right on her side — that what she 
had done could not be looked upon as extravagant or 
unjustifiable — was proved, she argued to herself, by the 
kind reception she had met with at the hands of Mr. 
Schroder, a man whq, as she judged from all she had 
heard and seen of him, would not be likely lightly to 
pass over any breach of decorum. How or where the 



THE PAPER BULLET. 343 

rest of her life was to be passed engrossed very little of 
her attention at first. She knew that there was no 
chance of reconciliation with her aunt; nor did she wish 
it. She had quarrelled with her husband, certainly, and 
would never be induced to live with him again; but her 
cheek flushed when she remembered what insults had 
been heaped upon Frank by her aunt; and she thought; 
almost tenderly of him as she decided that after these 
insults nothing would induce her to humiliate herself to 
Miss Lexden's caprices. The thought of writing to Sir 
Marmaduke Wentworth crossed her mind; but Alice 
Schroder had told her that Sir Marmaduke was laid up 
with a dangerous illness in the Pyrenees; it would be 
very inopportune to worry him, then, with domestic dis- 
sensions; and moreover Barbara was in very great doubt 
as to whether the old gentleman, were he able, would 
not take an active part in promoting a peace, and whe- 
ther he would not strongly disapprove of, and openly 
condemn, the course she had taken. He had a very 
high opinion of Frank Churchill, who was his godson; 
and unless it could be distinctly proved that he had 
committed himself — unless it could be distinctly proved 
— could it? what proof was there? had not her pride 
and spirit involved her in a snare? how could she make 
her case good before an unbiassed judge? There was 
the letter, and the letter in the same handwriting which 
he had received at Bissett; but she had no actual proofs 
that they were not such as should have been sent to any 
properly-conducted man. Great Heaven, if she had been 
too precipitate! if she had brought about an expose by 
rashness and wretched jealousy; if she had wrongly sus- 
pected that kind and generous soul, and cruelly stabbed 
him without hearing his defence! As Barbara tinned 
these matters in her mind, sitting in her bedroom on the 
first night of her arrival in Saze-Coburg Square, she felt 
the whole current of her being setting towards Frank; 
and she covered with her tears and kisses his miniature 
which hung in a locket at her watch-chain. Must this 
be the end of it ? could her fatal folly — if folly it were 



344 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

—darken the rest of her life? Oh, no! she could never 
acknowledge her error,— that would be impossible ; her 
pride would never permit her to take the first steps 
towards a reconciliation : but Frank would come — she 
knew it; he would come and ask her to return; and she 
would go ; and the rest of their life should be unclouded 
happiness. 

But Frank did not come; and the next morning when 
Barbara found the hours wearing very slowly by, and 
no solution of her wretchedness arrived at ; when little 
Alice Schroder's well-meant chatter — -well-meant, in- 
tended to be consolatory, but still chatter after all — had 
utterly failed in giving the smallest consolation; when 
Captain Lyster had called, and having been properly 
prepared by Mrs. Schroder before he saw Barbara, had 
evidently the greatest difficulty in assuming ignorance 
and unconcern; when the day had worn on, and no pro- 
gress had been made by her in any one way, — the bitter 
spirit rose in her more strongly than ever, and she felt 
more and more impressed as to the righteousness of her 
cause. The fact that Frank had not come to her, crying 
" peccavi," and imploring her to return, had, to a very 
great extent, convinced her that he must have been 
grievously in the wrong. Fully prepared not merely to 
forgive him what he had not done, but to be generous 
enough to meet him half way in an advance which oughi 
to have been made by her alone, she was annoyed beyond 
description at his making no sign; and each hour that 
passed over her head strengthened her obstinacy and 
deepened her misery. 

So several days went by. Barbara resolutely refused 
to go out; nothing could induce her to be seen in public, 
and none were admitted to the house save the intimate 
male friends of the family. Barbara stipulated, at once, 
that no women should be let in, and Alice, who believed 
in the most marvellous degree in Barbara, agreed to it. 
She did, indeed, suggest one female name, the name of a 
lady in whom she was sure, she said, Barbara would find 
great comfort; but Barbara, who had some acquaintance 



THE PAPER BULLET. 345 

with the person in question, hissed out, "Cat!" with 
such ferocity, that little Alice never dared again to open 
the question. The men-friends were restricted to two or 
three, among whom Barbara was glad, for Alice's sake, 
to find Captain Lyster, and equally glad not to find Mr. 
Beresford. She remembered Lyster's confidence to her 
at Uplands (she had reason to remember it, she thought 
with bitterness), and that confidence, though accident- 
ally distressing to herself, had impressed her with a high 
notion of the Captain's truth and honour. She felt as 
though she would have liked to have talked to him about 
her own troubles; but she did not know how to start the 
subject, and Lyster never gave her the smallest chance. 

On the fourth day after Barbara's arrival, Mrs. 
Schroder asked her guest, as usual, if she would drive 
out after luncheon, and having received the usual nega- 
tive, declared that she could not stand it any longer, but 
that ah she must have. Barbara would escuse her? Of 
course Barbara would; nothing she liked so much as 
being left alone. Then Mrs. Schroder determined on 
riding, and ordered her horse and groom round to the 
door, and went out for a ride. 

She thought she would go for a stretch round the 
suburban lanes; it was better and more fitted for an un- 
accompanied lady than the Park. So turning in at 
Queen's Gate, she skirted the Row, and riding over the 
Serpentine bridge turned up towards "Westbourne Ter- 
race, at the end of which, leisurely riding along, she saw 
Mr. Beresford. He saw her too, and in an instant was 
at her side; sitting his horse to perfection, and bowing 
with perfect ease and grace. He asked her where she 
was riding, and begged to be allowed to accompany her. 
She had a refusal on the tip of her tongue ; then recol- 
lected that she might never have another chance of 
speaking to him as frankly and decidedly as she had 
made up her mind to speak. So she consented. During 
the ride, she spoke earnestly and well; Beresford tried 
sophistry and special pleading; but they had little chance 
with her, so thoroughly in earnest was she. It was 



346 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

while in the height of his argument that they passed 
the lodge-gates of The Den, and were seen by Kate 
Mellon. 

Mrs. Schroder rode home that evening in a happier 
frame of mind than she had been in for months. She 
felt that she had effectually settled all Mr. Beresford's 
pretentions, and that she might meet her husband with- 
out the smallest shadow on her brow. Her joy was a 
little dashed by the receipt of a letter from her husband, 
which was put into her hand as she alighted from her 
horse. It said that an Egyptian prince, with whom the 
house had large transactions, had arrived at Southamp- 
ton, and that he, G-ustav, as representing the house, was 
compelled to go down and do the honours to him ; that 
he had telegraphed to his brother to relieve him as soon 
as possible ; and that he hoped to be back the next 
day. 

Mrs. Schroder's hopes were realised. In the course 
of the next afternoon a cab drove up to the door in Saxe- 
Coburg Square, and Mr. Schroder descended from it. 
His wife, who had rushed to the balcony at the sound of 
wheels, noticed that his step was slow, and that — a thing- 
she had never seen him do before — he leant upon the 
cabman's arm. When he entered the room she rushed to 
him, and, embracing him, asked him how he was. 

" I am well, my darling," he answered ; " quite well, 
but that I have rheumatism, or something like it. A 
curious pain — dead, dull, stupid pain — in my left arm 
and shoulder. Rheumatism, of course ! And you, Bar- 
bara, my dear ; you are well ? That's right ; no news 
with you, of course ? Ah ! I have been thinking much 
about you in the train, and we will talk to-morrow of 
your affairs. Well, Alice, what news ? Did you per- 
suade Barbara to drive yesterday?" 

" No, she refused again ; so I went out on horseback." 

" Ah, ah ! that was right. Alone ?" 

" I went alone ; but I met Mr. Beresford." 

" Beresford ! I hate that name ; he is a bad man. 
Bad ! bad !" 



THE PAPEB, BULLET. VA1 

And Mr. Schroder shook his hand in the air, and was 
obviously very much excited. 

'• Gustav," said Mrs. Schroder, "I'm very sorry 
that—" 

" Ah, you don't know ! More of this Beresford 
another time. A bad man, my dear ! Now I must 
look through my letters. Dinner at seven, eh ?" 

And with a bow, Mr.' Schroder descended to his 
library. 

The clock had struck seven, the gong had boomed 
through the house, and Alice and Barbara were standing 
at the dining-table ; the place at the head being vacant. 

" You had better tell your master, Pilkington," said 
Mrs. Schroder to the great butler ; " he is probably in 
his dressing-roorn." 

The great butler condescended to inform his mistress 
that he did not think his master had leff the libery. 

Mrs. Schroder then bade him find his master, and 
tell him they were waiting dinner. 

The butler left the room, and the next moment came 
running back, with a face whiter than his own neckcloth. 
Barbara saw him ere he had crossed the threshold ; in an 
instant she saw that something had happened ; and 
motioning the butler to precede her, walked to the 
library, followed by Mrs. Schroder. 

Fallen prone on his face, across the library-table, lay 
Mr. Schroder, dead, with an open letter rustling between 
bis stiffening fingers. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

HALF-REVEALED. 

As Kate Mellon had soliloquised, some time had elapsed 
since Mr. Simnel had visited The Den. A wary genera!, 
Mr. Simnel; a man who, like the elephant, never put 
his foot forward without first carefully feeling the ground 
in front of him, and trying whether it would bear ; a 
man who, above all, never was in a hurry. He had not 
gone through life cautiously and with his eyes wide open 
without remarking how frequently a little impulse, a 
little over excitement or yielding to headstrong urging, 
had led to direful results. 

" No hurry" was one of his choicest maxims : to sleep 
upon an idea ; to let information just received mellow in 
his mind until he saw the very best way to utilise it ; to 
brood over the most promising projects, carefully sifting 
the chaff from the grain ; to wait patiently until the two 
or three shadowy alternatives had, after due inspection, 
resolved themselves into one broad path, impossible to 
be shrunk from — that was Mr. Simnel's way of doing 
business. He never allowed the iron to be overheated. 
So soon as it was malleable, he struck — struck with irre- 
sistible force and sure aim ; but he never dallied with 
the half-heated metal, or tried warpings with pincers, or 
blind struggles with solid resistance. If he had a fault 
in his worldly dealings, it was that he delighted in hid- 
ing the power which he was able to wield, even beyond 
the legitimate time for its manifestation. There are 
men, you will have observed, who, in playing whist and 
other games of chance and skill, — long-headed calcu- 
lators, far-seers, sticklers for every point of Hoyle, — yet 



HALF-REVEALED. 319 

cannot resist the temptation of withholding their ace 
until the best time for its production is long past, solely 
for the sake of causing a sensation, for the sake of cre- 
ating a feeling of astonishment among their fellow 
players that the great card has been all that time in 
hand. So it was, to a certain extent, with Robert Sim- 
nel. 

He had known nothing of love, this man, during his 
youth. He had had no time for the cultivation of any 
tender passion. He had been brought up roughly, with 
his own way to make, with his own living to get. He 
was not pretty to look at, and no ladies felt an interest 
in smoothing his hah* or patting his cheeks. The ma- 
tron at the Combcardingham grammar-school, — a sour 
blighted old maid, a poor sad old creature, who yet 
retained some reminiscences of hope in her forlorn frame; 
in whom head- washing and looking after linen had not 
obliterated all traces of feminine weakness, and who re- 
membered early days, when she dreamed that some day 
some one might make her some kind of a marriage offer, 
dreams- which had never been fulfilled, — this weird sister 
had her favourites among the boys; but Simnel was not 
of them. They were mostly fat-headed, sleek-faced boys, 
apply, rubicund, red-lipped, and shiny ; boys with remi- 
niscences of home, who kissed Miss Wardroper as a kind 
of bad substitute for Ma, and who traded on their blow- 
ing beauty to be let off easily on tub-night, and to have 
advances of pocket money before the regular day. Robert 
Simnel had no share in these pettings ; he was what 
Miss Wardroper considered an "uncomfortable lad;" he 
was ' ; nothing to look at ;" and preferred lying on his 
stomach under trees with a book between his elbows, on 
which his face was resting, or sitting bolt upright, trying 
to catch on his page the glimmer from the school-fire, to 
all the cossettings of the housekeeper's room. In im- 
mediate after-life his course of conduct was pretty much 
the same. Combcardingham was not a moral town. 
Many of the pretty girls who worked hard all day 
dressed in great finery in the evenings, and proceeded to 



350 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the theatre, to the gardens, to the alfresco entertain- 
ments with which the suburbs of the town were studded, 
attended by the youth of the place. The conveyancing- 
clerk of Messrs. Banner and Blair, the common-law ditto, 
and the Chancery manager, were accustomed to speak of 
Annie, and Emmy, and Fanny, as though the establish- 
ment of those eminent lawyers had been the Hotel-Dieu, 
and they the interlocutors had been Parisian students in- 
stead of provincial lawyers ; the very copying-clerk, who 
served writs, and fetched beer for the gentlemen in the 
inner office, had been seen to wink his eye, and heard to 
mention some such article as "a bit of muslin." But 
Eobert Simnel had remained adamant. They dared 
not chaff him ; there was something in his manner which 
forbade any approach to familiarity. Some of the ribalds 
had once set some of their female friends to get a rise 
out of the quiet studious shame-faced young man ; but 
the girls had been met with perfect politeness, mixed 
with such studied coldness, that the game was given up 
in despair. From that time until he came up to London, 
Simnel was left unworried. 

His life in town was equally cold and celibate. He 
moved very little in the female society of his own class; 
not that he was unwelcome, but that he disliked it. It 
bored him; and that was the worst thing that could 
happen to him when once his foot was fairly set on the 
ladder. In the old days he had endured men, women, 
parties, society, — all utterly repugnant to his feelings and 
tastes; and he had vowed that, should he ever have the 
power, the severance of such obligatory ties would be the 
first luxury in which he would indulge; and he kept his 
word. " My lady," would chirp little Sir Hickory Mad- 
dox, — " my lady has bid me bring you this note of invi- 
tation to dine with us next Wednesday, Simnel. Formal, 
you perceive; for you are such a well-known stickler for 
formalities, that we fain must treat you a la Grandison;" 
and then Sir Hickory, who prided himself on the con- 
struction of his sentences, would double up his little head 
into his ample cravat, and bow in a mock heroic manner, 



HALF-REVEALED. 351 

But Mr. Simnel managed to find an excuse for not at- 
tending the solemn dinners of his chief; nor did he ever 
attend the pleasant reunions of Mrs. Gillotson and Mrs. 
Franks, wives of the senior officers of his department, to 
which he was bidden. Of course, as a bachelor, it was 
not supposed that he should receive lady visitors ; and 
though his rooms in Piccadilly had witnessed certain 
scenes which their proprietor described aspetits soupers, 
but which the mother-in-law of the serious saddler who 
held the shop below openly proclaimed as "orgies," at 
which certain distinguished coryphees of Her Majesty's 
Theatre were present, and there was lots of fun and 
laughter and champagne, and an impromptu galop after 
supper, — no one could tax Simnel with any decided flirta- 
tion. He had been very polite to, more than that, very 
jolly with every body, thoroughly hospitable, genial, and 
kind; but when they broke up, and Punter Blair put 
Fanny Douglas into a cab, and Sis Considine walked 
away with Kate Trafford and her sister Nelly, and the 
whole party turned out laughing and singing into the 
street, Robert Simnel went round the rooms and. put out 
the wax-lights, and picked up bits of lobster-shell and 
cracker-paper from the floor, and yawned confoundedly, 
and was deuced glad it was over. 

So he went on his way through life, with that way 
unillumined by one spark of love until he first saw Kate 
Mellon. How well he recollected every circumstance con- 
nected with the first glimpse of her! It was on a glorious 
spring afternoon at the beginning of the season; he was 
walking with Beresford (with whom he was just begin- 
ning to be intimate) through the Row, when he noticed 
the heads of the promenaders all turned one way; and 
following the direction, he saw a mounted female figure 
coming at a rapid pace down the ride. The horse she 
sat was a splendid black barb, an impetuous tearing fel- 
low, who had not yet learned that he was not to have 
his own way in life, and who was making the most des- 
perate struggle to recover such submission as he had been 
compelled to yield. In and out, in and out, from side to 



352 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

side, he bounded, obedient to the light hand, the scarcely 
tapping whip and the swerving body of his rider; but his 
foam-flecked chest and his sweat-rippled neck showed 
how unwillingly he accepted his lesson. At length, on 
catching sight of Beresford, who left Simnel's arm and 
walked to the rails, Kate drew rein, and, while she gave 
one hand to her acquaintance, she relaxed the other until 
the horse had full play for his stretching neck. Simnel 
stood amazed at her beauty and at the perfect outline of 
her supple figure. She was just exactly his style. Mr. 
Simnel had no admiration for Grecian features or classic 
mould. Ebon tresses and deep dreamy eyes were little 
regarded by him; his taste was of the earth, earthy; 
piquancy of expression, plumpness of form, was what he, 
to use his own expression, " went in for." He would not 
have bestowed a second glance upon Barbara Churchill; 
but Kate Mellon was exactly to his taste. He filled his 
eyes and his heart with her as she sat talking to Beres- 
ford that day; the sweeping lines of her habit, the dainty 
little handkerchief peeping out of the saddle-pocket, the 
dogskin gauntlets, the neat chimney-pot hat, the braided 
hair, the face flushed with exercise, — all these lived vi- 
vidly in his remembrance, and came in between his eyes 
and letters for signature to irascible correspondents and 
long accounts of indebted tax-payers. He was not long 
in obtaining an introduction to his idol ; and then he 
saw at once, with his innate sharpness, that he had but 
little chance of pressing his suit. Long before that eclair- 
cissement which Beresford had described to him, Simnel 
saw the state of affairs in that direction, and knew what 
Kate Mellon fondly hoped could never be realised. He did 
not think that the girl ever would have the chance of so 
plainly stating the position of affairs; but he knew Beres- 
ford well enough to be certain that moral cowardice would 
prevent his availing himself of the position offered to him. 
Nor did Simnel blame him in this; that farseeing gentle- 
man knew perfectly that for any man in society to ally 
himself in matrimony to a woman with a reputation 
which was equivocal simply from her profession, no 



HALF-REVEALED. 353 

matter how excellent the individual herself might be, 
was sheer madness. " It isn't," he argued to himself, 
c; as though I were a landed proprietor or a titled swell, 
who could throw the segis of my rank and position over 
Jier, and settle the question. Heaps of them have done 
that; dukes have married actresses of queer names and 
women of no name at all, and all the past life has been 
elegantly festooned over with strawberry-leaves. I'm a 
self-made man, and they hate me for that, though my 
status is now such that they can't deny it; but then 
they'd immediately begin to ask questions about my 
wife ; and if there were a chance of flooring us there, 
we should be done entirely." 

So when Mr. Beresford had told the story of his ad- 
venture with Kate Mellon, Mr. Simnel, who had very 
much slacked off the scent, purely from want of en- 
couragement and a chance of seeing his way, returned 
to the charge with renewed vigour. Beresford had faith- 
fully repeated to his Mentor every word of Kate's wild 
outburst ; and in that sudden revelation Simnel, nothing 
amazed thereby, had found a strong incentive to further 
exertion. Kate had hinted at relatives of whom her fu- 
ture husband need not be ashamed. Who were they? 
That was one of the first points to be found out. He 
wisely looked upon Charles Beresford as now cleared out 
of his way. It was not for nothing that Mr. Simnel had 
read at the Combcardingham grammar-school of the spretce 
injuria forma; and he knew that the Commissioner had 
probably committed himself for ever in the eyes of the 
lady of The Den. Nevertheless, to make assurance doubly 
sure, he at once used all his influence towards turning 
Beresford's views in another direction; thus further irri- 
tating Kate's pride, and preventing any chance of a re- 
conciliation ; for this apparently phlegmatic man of busi- 
ness, this calm, calculating, long-headed dry chip of an 
official, loved the little woman with his whole heart and 
strength, and determined to miss no opportunity of so 
winning her regard by his devotion to her cause, and by 
the tangible results springing therefrom. That must tell 

AA 



354 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

in the end, he thought. She is now heart-sore about 
Beresford; she has discovered the foundation of sand on 
which her first little castle was built; and now she will 
not touch the ruins or lay another stone. There is but 
one way to arouse in her any new life, — the keynote to 
be touched is ambition. If there be ariy truth in her 
assertion that she is sprung from a race of which she can 
be proud, one may work it through that. So Mr. Simnel 
worked away He speedily found that Kate's own know- 
ledge of her origin was cloudy in the extreme ; but he 
possessed, in a rare degree, the faculty of putting two 
and two together and making four of them very rapidly; 
and he had not been very long chewing the cud of poor 
Kitty's stories of the circus, and the uncle, and all the 
rest of it, before he saw a clue which sent him spinning 
far into Northumberland by express-train to a place where 
he saw the circus which Kate had named was advertised 
in those wonderful columns of the Era as then performing. 
No one accompanied Mr. Simnel on that journey; no 
one knew what he did or what he heard ; but as the 
chronicler of these mild adventures, I may state that 
though not in the least astonished at what was — after 
a free pecuniary disbursement — imparted to him, he came 
back to London radiant. The clerks in the Tin-Tax 
Office did not know what to make of him; some of the 
young ones thought he had got married; but at that 
suggestion the older men shook their heads. That was 
the last thing, they opined, to cause an access of animal 
spirits. He might have come in for a legacy, or taken 
the change out of some body whom he hated; that was 
all they could see to account for his cheerfulness. Two 
or three of the men, Mr. Pringle of course among the 
number, improved the occasion by asking for a day or 
two's leave of absence; a request at once granted by the 
smiling secretary, who, on the clay after his return, an- 
nounced his intention of making a half-holiday, and 
wound his way towards The Den. He rode through 
the lodge-gate, and exchanged salutations with the rosy 
porteress ; but as he turned into the carriage-drive he 



HALF-REVEALED. 355 

perceived Freeman, the old stud-groom, standing at the 
entrance to the stables, alert and expectant. As soon as 
the old man recognised Simnel, he advanced towards him, 
and motioned him towards the farmyard. Simnel turned 
his horse's head in that direction, and when he arrived 
inside the gates and on the straw-ride, old Freeman held 
his bridle as he dismounted. 

" A word wi' you, sir," said the old man, putting his 
finger on his lip and nodding mysteriously. 

Mr. Simnel looked astonished, but said nothing, as 
the old groom called to a helper, to whose care he re- 
linquished the horse; then taking Simnel into a little 
room and planting him in the midst of a grove of girths 
and stirrups, the saddles of which formed an alcove above 
him, the old man produced a short set of steps, and mo- 
tioning to Simnel to seat himself on the top of them, 
took up his position immediately in front of him, and 
said, in a voice intended to be low, but in reality very 
hissino-ly sonorous, — 

" Waiit be matther?" 

It was seldom that Mr. Simnel was nonplussed, but 
this was beyond him. He had only caught one word, 
and that he thought better to repeat. So he merely 
ejaculated "matter?" 

"Ay, matther!" echoed the old man, this time in 
rather an angry tone. "Waiit be matther down yon?" 
jerking his head towards the house. Mr. Simnel thought 
that the man was presuming on his position to take liber- 
ties, a very terrible crime in his eyes, so he simply ele- 
vated his thick eyebrows and echoed, " Down yon?" 

" Thou knowst waiit a mean, sir, weel enow. Waiit 
be matther wi' my leddy? waiit be matther wi' my bright 
lassie ai've tended this ever so long?" and the old man's 
face puckered up into wrinkles, and he produced from 
his hat a cotton handkerchief, with which he rubbed his 
eyes. 

" What do you mean, Freeman ? I. didn't follow 
you until this instant. Is — is your mistress ill?" asked 
Simnel. 



356 tuiokkx to hai:xj;ss. 

"Xo, not ill: that's to say waiit folks call ill; always 
greetin', that waiit she is, — thinkin' of something yon, — 
givin' no heed to waiit goes on close to her face. Eyes 
lookin' far away out into the distance ; no thowt of the 
stock such as she had : hasn't heen into the farrier's shop 
these three weeks, — blister here, singe there, do as 't 
loikes; Miss never says nay now, and that's bad sign; 
for a more thrifty body never stepped." 

"Ah, she doesn't take such interest, you mean, in 
what goes on here as she did." 

" Int'rest ! She cares nowt aboot it !" said the old 
man. " Ther' soommut oop, soommut wrang ! that's 
what ther' is. Ther' can't have been no one a philan- 
derin' wi' her, on and oft' like,' — you understand?" 

" I should think not,"' said Mr. Simnel, with a face as 
solid as a rock. 

" If I'd thowfc that,'' said old Freeman, " and I'd 
fouad 'em out, I'd beat 'ems brains out as if it were a 
stoat!" and as he spoke he struck the palm of his hand 
with the handle of his hunting-whip in an unmistakably 
vicious manner. "Dunno waiit's coom to her to-day," 
he continued, after a pause ; " haven't set eyes on her 
all the morning. Hasn't been in t'yard, hasn't been in 
t'staiibles, hasn't moved out of t'house." 

This latter part of Freeman's speech seemed to arouse 
Mr. Simnel' s fading attention; he looked up sharply, and 
said, 

" Not been out of the house all the morning ! what 
does that mean? "VYho was here yesterday?" 

" Yesterday," said the old man slowly considering ; 
" there were Sandcrack coom oop about Telegram's navi- 
cular, — no more navicular than I am; nowt but a sprain; 
— and Wallis from TYethers's wi' a pair o' job grays; and 
old Mr. Isaacson as tried some pheayton 'osses; and — " 

" Yes, yes," said Mr. Simnel ; " no young man ; no 
one in the habit of coming here?" 

" Not one," said Freeman. 

u That's devilish odd," said Mr. Simnel, half to him- 
self j "what the deuce has happened to upset her? I'll 



HATiF-'REVUA UID. 357 

go in and see. (iood-dny, Freeman; I've brought some 
good news for your mistress, and I hope we shall soon 
see her herself again." 

The old man touched his hat, as Simnel Avalked off 
to the house, where he found Kate's servant, and learnt 
from her that her mistress had kept her room all the 
morning, complaining of headache. From this domestic 
Mr. Simnel had a repetition of old Freeman's story. Not 
only had she seemingly lost all interest in her business, 
which formerly so thoroughly engrossed her attention, but 
for the last few months she had been in every respect a 
thoroughly changed woman. 

" I've been with her four year," said the woman, hold- 
ing her hands clasped in front of her, and beating time 
with them at the conclusion of each sentence; "four year 
I've been with her, and never sec no megrims. A cheer- 
fuller lighter-hearteder lady there were not, so long as you 
was quick. Every thing must be done directly minute, 
and all was right. But latterly there's been nothink but 
megrims and lowness of sperrits, and no caring for what 
we wears or what we eats, or whether we eats at all, in- 
deed." This and much more to the same effect, only cut 
short by Simnel's requesting the woman to take his name 
to her mistress, and say he was anxious for a few words 
with her. 

He sat down in the dining-room and took up a Bell's 
Life which lay on the table; but had hardly glanced at 
it when the door was hurriedly thrown open and Kate 
entered. She was perfectly colourless and trembled vio- 
lently. As she gave her cold hand to Simnel, she asked 
at once, 

"What's the matter, Simnel? what's brought you 
here? Something particular to say, they tell me. What 
is it?" 

Though Mr. Simnel was in reality very much shocked 
at the change which had taken place in her personal ap- 
pearance, he did not betray it by look or word. There 
was not a break in his voice as, retaining her hand be- 
tween his, he said, 



358 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

"Why, Kate, is this your hospitality? is this the way 
you receive visitors, demanding their business in this 
pistol-to-the-head fashion? Suppose I were to say that 
my pressing business was to look at and to talk to 
you." 

"No, no, Simnel; no nonsense. At least not now, 
please; as much as you like when you've answered me. 
There hasn't been a — I mean he hasn't — you haven't — 
confound it, Simnel, why don't you help me?" and she 
stamped her foot upon the floor in rage. 

" Kate, Kate," said he, still quietly, though this little 
evidence of her excited state touched him very deeply, 
" I can't tell what is the matter with you to-day. I've 
come to talk to you and to tell you a little news about 
yourself — that's all." 

"About myself? not about — I mean about no one 
else? Nothing has happened? nothing — " 

" Nothing that I know of. I only arrived in town late 
last night, and I have seen no one this morning. What 
on earth did you expect ? Now you're flushing again ! 
My dear Kate, you're not well, child; you must — " 

"I'm all right now," said she, withdrawing her hand; 
"I'm all right again. It was only some stupid nonsense; 
I'm a bit nervous, I think. I'll have some change of 
air, and see what that will do. I'm as nervous as a cat. 
Had a girl here for a lesson yesterday. Pine girl, sister 
of Dick Hamilton's — Dirty Dick's, you know ; and she 
wanted to see me put her horse at the brook. The brute 
refused, and I couldn't put him at it the second time — 
lost my pluck — funked it myself — fancy that! First 
time such a thing ever happened to me!" 

"You want change and rest, Kitty," said Simnel, 
kindly. " And you want rest of mind much more than 
mere respite from bodily fatigue. Your life lately has 
been past in a series of storms, in which you have been 
tossed about, and whirled here and there, in a manner 
which is now beginning to tell upon you. Now, all 
these starts and flushes and tremors to-clay are the result 
of some fresh worry. What happened yesterday?" 



HALF-KEVEALED. 359 

"Happened yesterday?" echoed Kate, flushing deeply 
as she spoke; "nothing." 

"Who was here?" asked Simnel, in a mild tone of 
voice, but fixing his eyes fall on her. 

" Here ? who ? How dare you question me in this 
way? Who are you to come worming and prying into 
my affairs? I never asked you to come, and I sha'n't be 
sorry how soon you go !" 

He was not an atom moved at this outburst of rage, 
at these taunts; at least he did not appear so. He only 
shook his head, and said sorrowfully, 

"Unfair, Kitty; horribly unfair. I've just come 
back from a journey of hundreds of miles, undertaken 
for the object of what you are pleased to term ' worming 
and prying into your affairs ;' and this is all the thanks 
I get." 

She seized his hand, and pressed it warmly. "There, 
there ! forget it : it's all part and parcel of my nervous- 
ness, that I was telling you about. Now you shall know 
who was here yesterday. Beyond the usual business- 
people, only one man — Scadgers the money-lender!" 

" Scadgers! The deuce he was! What brought him? 
Did he come to — no, that's impossible. What did bring 
him?" 

" Now it's you that are muttering to yourself, Sim- 
nel," said Kate. "Make your mind easy; a letter from 
me brought him here. I wanted a little assistance." 

" Stuff, Kitty! What on earth — oh, I see now. You 
little flat! you've been paying young Prescott's bills for 
him." 

" Well, what if I have? You don't mind." 

"Mind! not I. I love you better for it. Oh, I see 
you smile; but I've been making a few inquiries at the 
Office since I was here last, and I find that it is a case 
■with your pupil and him. He's a fine young fellow, and 
will do well." It is astonishing how, when Ave are no 
longer jealous of a man, his good qualities crop out. 

" He is a good fellow ; a thoroughly good fellow ; a 
gentleman in every thought," said Kate; "and it was 



360 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

only right to give him a clean start again. All young 
men — all who are worth any thing — kick up their heels 
at first; and then some fools pull them in tight, and 
they get sulky and vicious, and never run straight after- 
wards. But if they're held straight in hand, and have 
just enough rein given them, they right themselves very 
soon, and go as square as a die. You'll see now that 
James Prescott will marry, and settle down into a regular 
humdrum life, and be as happy as the day. That's the 
only existence, Simnel. Lord help us! They talk of 
the pleasures of excitement, — the miserable fools, if they 
only knew!" and Kate heaved a deep sigh, and buried 
her face in her hands. 

" Come, come, Kitty," said Simnel, " this will never 
do. Nothing that you've said can reasonably be applied 
to your own case. You've had the enjoyment of one 
style of life, and now let us hope the joys of the other 
are rapidly coming upon you. You shake your head 
again. What on earth is the matter with you, child?" 

" I can't tell, Simnel," said the girl, raising her tear- 
blurred face. " I can't tell. I've a horrible weight here," 
placing her hand upon her heart, — " a something hang- 
ing over me ; a presentiment of something about to hap- 
pen, — and I haven't the least notion what, — that never 
leaves me. I'm as flat as a bad bottle of champagne. 
By the way, I think I'll try whether a glass of that 
Madeira wouldn't — " 

"No, no, Kitty; for heaven's sake keep off that! 
The lift given by that is only temporary, and you're 
twice as down as you were before, when it subsides. 
You've never asked me one word about my journey yet." 

"Your journey! What journey? Oh, to be sure, 
you said you'd been away, and on my business. Where , 
did you go to?" 

"To Newcastle-on-Tyne. To Norton's Fields, just 
beyond the town; where — " 

" Norton's Fields ! Newcastle ! Why that's where 
we used to make our pitch with old Fox's Circus, 
and—" 



HALF-KIOVEALED. Of>l 

"And that's exactly the place where old Fox's Circus 
is pitched at this moment." 

" ]>id you go to it?" 

""Why, Kitty, can't you understand that, after what 
you told me the other day, to visit it, and glean infor- 
mation from its people, was the sole cause of my 
journey?" 

'• And did you see them all ? Is old Fox still alive ; 
and Madam, with her deep voice arid big bony hands; 
and Lucette and Josephine — big girls now, and doing 
the hontt'-ecoU business, I suppose; and Brownini, the 
clown, is he with them yet? and Thompson the bare- 
backed-rider, — a conceited beast, he was ! — and old Bellars 
the band-leader ? Lord, Lord ! what happy times those 
were! happier than I shall ever see again, I know." 

" Nonsense, Kate. Your life is just now at its turn. 
All those horrid days of grinding labour in the circus, 
all the hard work you've done here, shall be to you like 
a dream. You shall be a swell, and hold your own with 
the best of them. Ay, and not merely in money, — I 
offered you that long since, — but I wanted to prove a 
position for you, and I have proved it, Kitty, my dar- 
ling!" and Mr. Simnel's usually pale cheeks glowed, and 
his eyes glistened, and he squeezed Kate's hand in the 
excitement of Ms feelings. 

" You've found out whose child I am, Simnel?" asked 
Kate. 

"Every thing! I've only got to see your father, and 
wring from him the confession, — and I have the means 
of doing that, as safe as houses — and you shall be put in 
your proper position at once, Kitty, and a capital posi- 
tion it is, too. Your father is a man of great wealth, 
very highly thought of, moving in the best circles, and 
eminently respectable." 

"And his name?" 

" All, that I mustn't tell you till next time we meet. 
It's due to him to let him know how much we have 
learned, and to give him the option of behaving properly. 
If he refuse, I can put such a screw on him as will com 



362 BROKEN TO HAHKESS. 

pel him at once to do as we wish. And then, Kitty," 
continued Simnel, dropping his voice, and looking at her 
fondly from under his bushy eyebrows, "when all my 
work for you is satisfactorily finished, I shall come to 
you and ask for my reward." 

" You shall have it, Robert," she said simply, placing 
her hand in his. It was the first time she had called 
him by his Christian name, and as he heard it a thrill of 
delight ran through him. 

Mr. Simnel had ridden away homeward, and Kate 
had thrown herself on a sofa in the dining-room, and 
was vacantly watching the purple gloom creeping up and 
ingulphing the landscape. Yacantly, I say; for though 
her eyes were fixed on it, she heeded it not. Simnel's 
description of his visit had awakened in her a thousand 
memories of old days. The smell of the stables, the tan, 
and the sawdust of the ring; the lamps, and the orange- 
peel in the marquee ; the way in which the tent-poles 
would strain and crack in a high wind, and the audience 
would look up, as though expecting the crazy edifice to 
descend on then heads ; the swinging naphtha-burners 
flaring in the draught; the dull flopping sound of the 
first drops of a thunder-shower on the tent roof, causing 
an immediate consternation and whispering among the 
non-umbrellaed spectators, — all these rose before her 
mind. She recollected all the different stages of her 
own novitiate ; heard old Fox's thin piping voice cursing 
her freely for " missing her tip" in clearing the garters, 
or sticking in the silver-papered hoop; and his wife's 
hoarse growling at her extravagance in tarlatan skirts 
and rose-pinked stockings. Then, pursuing this train of 
thought, she remembered what Simnel had said about 
her parentage; and stung with a sudden idea she sat up- 
right on the sofa, unconsciously tapping her teeth with 
her nails. Could it not all be made straight? That 
was what she thought. Her father was a man of posi- 
tion, a man highly thought of and esteemed — so Simne] 
had said; he could be forced to recognise her as his 



HALF-REVEALED. 363 

daughter, — Simnel swore he should do this. What, 
then, stood in the way of her being reconciled to, of her 
being married to Charles Beresford? She had plenty of 
money as it was, and if her father were rich as stated, 
could have the command of more. It was her position, 
the horse-breaking business, that had floored Charley ; 
she saw that at once ; but now here she was a recognised 
swell, bar the illegitimacy ; and Charley wouldn't mind 
that with money, and above all wich love — oh, such 
love! — for him. He would give up every one else for 
her; he would give up that fair-haired woman. — Ah, 
good God ! the letter ! that fatal letter, which she wrote 
in her mad passion of yesterday ! that wild wicked letter 
was fatal ! it would be shown to him ; her handwriting 
would be recognised, and there would be an end to all 
her hopes. 

When the servant came in Avith the dinner-tray she 
found her mistress in a swoon. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

THE HOUSE OF MOURNING. 

Dead! had been dead for half an hour! — so said the 
first man with an approach to medical knowledge who 
was called in, and who indeed was a worthy chemist who 
lived in the neighbourhood, and who, on the strength of 
a square shop fitted with an oil-cloth floor, with a little 
fountain in the centre (in the basin of which half-a-dozen 
bottles of aerated water were always cooling), of a counter 
bearing glazed cases of scents and cosmetics, of a nest of 
drawers labelled with illegible half-words, and of three 
large shining coloured bottles in the window, was re- 
garded by the servants in the vicinity as a weird prac- 
titioner indeed. A servant had been despatched in a 
cab for Dr. Prater ; but in the interval pending that 
luminary's arrival, Mr. Canthar, of the Medical Hall, 
was master of the position, and all those who were left 
with the body hung upon his words. It — it had already 
come to be called "it" — still lay in the library, where it 
had been found. Mrs. Schroder, who had hurried in 
close behind Barbara, had, at the very first glimpse of 
the state of affairs, gone off into a violent fit of hysterics, 
and had been removed to her room, whither Barbara had 
followed her, and where the latter was now in close 
attendance upon her stricken friend. When Mr. Canthar 
arrived (he had stripped off his black-calico apron and 
thrown it into the cork-drawer on being summoned, and 
completed his toilette en route by running his fingers 
through such hair as remained on the sides of his head), 
he found Mr. Schroder's body stretched out on the sola 
in the library, and attended solely by the kitchen-maid 



THE HOUSE OE MOUKNIKU. 305 

and by a page-boy, who, partly from love to the kitchen- 
maid, partly from gratitude to his employers, bore her 
company. The other servants had declined having any 
thing to do with such horrors, as not coming within 
their engagements. The great butler had retired to the 
housekeeper's room, taking with him a bottle of brown 
sherry, and there these supreme functionaries sat, dis- 
cussing future prospects; the French cook had gone out 
to announce to a friend of his, who was steward at a 
crack club, that he was now open to an engagement; the 
two footmen, great hulking masses of ignorance and 
vanity, with faces whiter than the powder on their 
heads, sat in the pantry, shaking over one glass of hot 
gin-and-water, and solemnly glozing over the probability 
of a suggestion made by one of them that "he" (they 
had never named him) had died of " spuntanus kymbus- 
tium." When Mr. Canthar's sharp ring came at the 
bell, they both trembled violently, and went up together 
to open the door. The announcement that their master 
was dead, — an announcement made by Mr. Canthar 
after a very cursory examination, — utterly failed in re- 
assuring them; on the contrary, it produced the liveliest 
symptoms of fright, and they incontinently hurried down 
stairs to the pantry again. Mr. Canthar required but a 
very short examination to arrive at his verdict. He 
placed his finger on the pulse, his ear to the waistcoat; 
then he took a candle from the attendant kitchen-maid, 
and looked for an instant into the half-closed glazed eyes. 
Gently depositing the hand, he said, " Dead ! quite dead ! 
been dead for half-an-hour, I suppose. I'm not called 
upon to state to you my opinion of the cause of death; 
indeed, it would be quite useless ; and as no member of 
the family has done me the honour to be present, — well, 
no matter, never mind." Then, in a whisper, " I'd put 
a cloth round the jaws, don't you know ? just bind it 
together, because — ugly appearance, you understand, 
Martha — good-night ;" and Mr. Canthar tripped out of 
the house, and devoted the remainder of the evening to 
working out a composition for the nutriment of the hair, 



366 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

which, under the name of Canth.ir's Crinibus, has an 
enormous circulation over the infant heads of Albert- 
opolis. 

Half-an-hour after he had received the message from 
the servant who had been despatched for him, Dr. Prater 
spun up in his little low carriage, — hung on C springs 
to prevent the doctor's highly sensitive organisation 
being disturbed by bumps or jolts over the horrible 
pavement, — and drawn by a pah? of little bays, which 
might have been the property of any millionaire in the 
land. The great butler condescended to leave the society 
of the housekeeper, and to rouse himself so far as to hold 
open the drawing-room door for the doctor's entrance ; 
also to produce a decanter and a couple of glasses ; and 
placing them at the doctor's elbow, to croak out, " Our 
'20, sir!" and to fill a wine-glass. 

"Ah, thank ye, Pilkington," said the little doctor, 
taking up the glass, and holding it between his eye and 
the candle; "this is a dreadful thing, Pilkington." 

"Yes, sir," said the butler, shortly; "it's ill-con- 
wenient. Do you find the wine agreeable to your taste, 
sir?" 

" Yes, yes, thank ye. I want you now to show me — 
ah, here's some one coming ;" and the door opened, and 
Barbara Churchill entered the room. 

"Mrs. Schroder is very ill, doctor; you must see her 
before you go, if you please ; in her absence I will con- 
duct you. Pilkington — oh, there are lights, I suppose ? 
— this way, doctor;" and she led the way to the library. 

This had been Barbara's first experience of death, 
and it was a severe trial for her, broken down as she was 
with her other miseries; but she saw how utterly helpless 
poor little Alice Schroder was, and she determined to 
help to bear the misery of her sudden misfortune. So 
she preceded Dr. Prater to the library; and when she had 
opened the door, she beckoned to the kitchenmaid and 
page-boy, who were sitting bolt upright on the edge of 
their chairs, and let the doctor enter by himself, she re- 
turning to the dining-room. In a very few minutes she 



THE HOUSE OF MOURNING. 367 

was joined by the little doctor, who had in the passage 
composed his face to its usual aspect by this time. " Not 
the slightest hope, my dear madam, — not the slightest 
hope. If I had been here the minute after, I could not 
have been of the least assistance. Must have been in- 
stantaneous, my clear madam, — instantaneous, — disease 
of the heart, — under which I long knew he laboured ; 
but I never told him. What was the need ? I've said 
to myself fifty times, 'Prater, you should tell Mr. 
Schroder of his danger;' and then, again, I've said tg 
myself, ' What's the use ? Mr. Schroder's not a man t« 
relax those gigantic enterprises in which he is engaged, 
on the mere word of a theorist like myself. He'll only 
be annoyed at my interference.' There was no cause for 
any excitement, any special excitement, my dear miss ? 
Pardon me ; to whom have I the pleasure of speak- 
ing ?" 

" I am Mrs. Churchill, — I was Miss Lexden, — a very 
intimate friend of Mrs. Schroder's before her marriage." 

" Ay, ay, ay ! of course ! how very remiss of me not 
to bear it in mind! Pleasure of including your husband, 
Mrs. Churchill, among my distinguished literary friends. 
I hope he's quite himself. Ay, ay; Miss Lexden that 
was, eh? Think I've had the pleasure of meeting you, 
before you took rank as a matron, in the house of my 
dear old friend Sir Marmaduke Wentworth? Ah! I 
thought so. Ill now, poor dear fellow, — ill in the 
Pyrenees; hum, ha! And no cause for any special 
excitement in the present lamentable case, you say, my 
dear Mrs. Churchill? — hum! Well, well; death from 
natural causes, of course. I can testify as to his heart- 
disease. Still, I'm afraid, my dear madam, there'll have 
to be a horrible — what Ave call a pos (-mortem. The 
ridiculous laws of this country are not satisfied with a 
professional man's word in such cases, and though — of 
course I'll take care there's no annoyance. Bad thing 
for Mrs. Schroder, — very! I'll go up and see her 
directly. By the way, my dear Mrs. Churchill," added 
the little doctor, edging himself very close to Barbara, 



368 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

and looking more than ever like an owl ; " here's a paper 
which I picked off the floor of the library when I went in 
to see our poor late friend just now. I haven't looked at 
it myself, of course; but perhaps it might be well to put 
it away, and not to let Mrs. Schroder see it just yet; 
and," continued the doctor, examining with great atten- 
tion the pattern of the Turkey carpet, " I don't see that 
there's any necessity to mention its existence before the 
coroner's people, — no one else seems to have seen it, — ■ 
and these things are better kept quiet ;" and the doctor 
handed Barbara a folded paper, which she at once placed 
in her pocket, and bowed himself out. 

Then there fell upon that house contusion, and silence, 
and sadness, and a general mistiness and ignorance. No 
one spoke above their breath; no one knew what day of 
the month it was, or what day of the week, or what length 
of time had elapsed since the occurrence of the event 
which had given rise to this state of affairs. All normal 
laws were suspended; the carte for the proposed dinner 
did not go up as usual in the morning ; the great butler 
suspended his customary inspection of the plate and re- 
views of the china and glass; the young lady really born 
in Picardy, but passing current as a Parisian, who was 
called "Mumzell" by the other servants, and who was 
attached as special retainer to Mrs. Schroder, had no in- 
terviews with her lady on toilet subjects, and found her 
health undoubtedly improved by being relieved from 
mental anxiety on the subject of the perpetual invention 
of new styles of head-dress. The tradesmen seemed to 
take Mr. Schroder's dying out of the season as a kind of 
personal affront. Had it happened when every thing was 
in full swing, the poulterer had remarked, and when par- 
lies had the greatest worrit in supplying what parties 
ordered, why parties might have been glad of a lull; but 
now, in the slack time of year, when there was few fami- 
lies in town, and what was mostly supplied with game 
from friends as had shooting, to have a large and reg'lar 
customer's orders suddenly stopped, as might be said, in 
this way, was not what parties expected and might be 



THE HOUSE OF HOUUNlXfi- 369 

Baid to look for. Perhaps the retainers attached to the 
stable-department took the pleasantest view of matters. 
It were a bad business, they allowed; but, after all, there 
must be money left, and the establishment wouldn't be 
broke up ; and besides, a missis were easier to serve than 
a master, and couldn't pry; not that any thing of that 
sort could be said of their late guv'nor, for a more inno- 
center man never breathed. He were a bad whip, always 
a tuggin' at the 'orses' mouths ; but a good master. 
Meanwhile 'orses must be kep' exercised; and so Mrs. 
Edwards the coachman's wife, and Nancy and Billy her 
young 'uns, and Susan Gilbert, what was keeping com- 
pany with Strapper the under-coachman, and one or two 
convivial friends, had two or three very pleasant days at 
Eichmond and Hampton, proceeding thither in what they 
called a "weggynet," borrowed from the corn-chandler at 
the corner of the mews, and drawn now by the chestnuts 
which Mr. Schroder used to spin along in his mail- 
phaeton, now by the iron-grays which concentrated at- 
tention on Mrs. Schroder's equipage in the ring. And 
in every department of the servants' hall and in the out- 
lying regions connected therewith, there seemed to be an 
impression of the over- weening necessity for going in for 
good eating and drinking, as if to counteract the baleful 
effect of the calamity which had occurred. In the house 
itself, the kitchenmaid, relieved from attendance in that 
dread library, gave herself up to the cooking of mighty 
joints for discussion at the " one-o'clock dinner." The 
housekeeper and the great butler had little refections, 
washed down with brown sherry, in the still-room; while 
one of the two-gallon stone jars of brown brandy, — origi- 
nally ordered for preserve-purposes, and of a very different 
quality from the eau-de-vie-de-cognac in the tapering 
bottles — was apportioned by the butler to the nightly 
grog of the servants' hall. Then it was that Eawbert, 
one of the six-foot Johns, and son of an Oxford scout, 
first showed his remarkable talent for brewing punch; 
under the influence of which the assemblage grew so 
jolly, that some of them were only restrained from break 

BB 



370 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

ing into harmony by the representation of others as to 
what was lying upstairs. 

What was lying upstairs had been moved from the 
library to a spare bedroom, had been handed over to the 
charge of snch horrible ghoulish women as only appear 
at such dread times, and had been left all placid and 
composed and cold and statuesque by itself. What was 
lying upstairs had had visitors. The coroner — a fat man 
with a red face, smeared black clothes, beady black eyes, 
and boots slit here and there as a necessary accommoda- 
tion for gout — had visited it, had stood at the head of the 
bed where it lay, and, had it not been for thick carpeting 
and double doors, would have sent his opinion of it clang- 
ing to the ears of her whom it once cherished as its own 
heart's blood. The jury had visited it (some of them at 
least, nearly half were too frightened to come beyond the 
bedroom-door), and had said, " Oh !" and " Deary me !" 
and had looked at the coroner and gone away again to 
the Coburg Arms; and then and there, over hot brandy- 
and- water, administered as a corrective, and strongly re- 
commended by the coroner, had found a verdict of " Death 
from natural causes." Then it had other visitors — men 
in black, who took off their coats at the door and left 
their boots outside, putting on list slippers, and who had 
foot-rules, and who whistled to themselves softly as they 
went about their ghastly work. These men came again 
at night with others, blundering up the stairs under the 
weight of a horrible burden, and the room assumed a 
different aspect, and what lay therein seemed further re- 
moved from humanity and less kin to any thing it had 
hitherto claimed kinship with. And after that, it had 
yet another visitor; a white-robed woman, who stole in 
at night and knelt at the side of its black prison-house, 
and implored pardon for past waywardness and thought- 
lessness and girlish follies, and prayed for strength and 
succour and support; then rising, pressed her lips on its 
cold forehead, and was led from the room in a half-hys- 
terical state. 

Yes; Alice Schroder had begun to wake to the reali- 



THE HOUSE OF MOURNING. 371 

ties of life, to find that opera-boxes and drums and seal- 
skin-cloaks and equipages and money, all good things in 
their way, were powerless against Death; and that Death 
was not merely the bugbear which he had been always 
painted, but had other qualities horrific in their nature, 
which she at least had never imputed to him. He was a 
thought-compeller, and up to that time little Alice had 
never known what thinking was. But now she thought 
long and earnestly. She thought of her earlier days, long 
before she had received her father's orders as to her mar- 
riage; she thought of her school-girl flirtations and hopes 
and fears and intentions as to matrimony; recalling the 
cavalry cornet, the light- whiskered curate, and the Italian 
singing-master vividly in her memory. Then she had a 
vague recollection of her coming-out and her town-life, 
through all which there loomed a shadowy presentment 
of Captain Lyster, standing specially boldly out in her 
remembrance of her stay at Bissett Grange; and then 
came Mr. Townshend's imperative decision, and her ac- 
ceptance of her dead husband's offer. Had she behaved 
well to that dead husband? who had behaved so kindly 
to her? Ah, how painfully, as though with an actual 
sting, came back the recollection of his kindness, of his 
lavish generosity; how with clumsy action and ill-chosen 
words, but showing in the highest degree the warmth of 
his affection and the delicacy of his mind, he had loaded 
her with gifts, and had endeavoured to forestall her every 
wish ! How, with an evident struggle, — for had he not 
been matured to it from his youth up? — yet successfully, 
he had weaned himself from the cares of business (at one 
time his greatest pleasure), and learnt a new life in the 
society of his wife, and in manifesting his devotion to 
her. Had she brought him such wealth of affection as 
he had showered upon her? Had she even met him 
half-way? When she was a girl, she was fond of being 
considered "highly romantic" by her companions; she 
thought herself the essence of romance ; and yet what 
was her romance compared to that shown by that elderly 
gray-headed German merchant, who had changed the 



372 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

whole tenor of his life for a woman's love ? And had he 
possessed that love ? that was the bitterest question of 
all. Respect, yes; honour, yes; but did she respect Mr. 
Beresford, — she certainly did not honour him, — who had 
so often been her companion during her husband's life- 
time ? had she not had a warmer feeling towards that ac- 
complished cavalier ? had she not permitted him to speak 
in somewhat slighting terms, to which she by her silence 
had given tacit approval, of the dead man ; ridiculing his 
age and habits, unfitting him for finding favour in ladies' 
eyes, and protesting against the hard fate which cast such 
pearls before such swine ? All this came up clear and 
fresh in Alice Schroder's memory ; and as it rose she 
hated Beresford with all her strength; and, struck with 
deepest remorse, wished — oh, how she wished ! — that the 
time would come over again, that she might dower her 
husband with her love, and show how she appreciated 
his devotion to her. 

Then what was lying there lay no longer. There 
came a morning when the boys in the neighbouring 
mews, who had been on the look-out for some little time, 
passed the word to each other that it was all right for 
that day, and forthwith coming trooping out, took up 
their positions in available spots close by. The mutes 
in their preposterous scarves, and bearing their hideous 
banners, mounted guard at the door ; and the hearse and 
the mourning-coaches pulled-up close by; and the red- 
nosed men got ready the trays of feathers, and the long 
staves, and the velvet trappings, and all the funeral in- 
signia, which would be ridiculous were they not disgusting. 
And the company arrived at the house: there were two of 
the dead man's brothers, representing the firm respectively 
in Hamburg and Paris ; uncles and cousins, pillars of the 
London Exchange ; the clerk from the office, who had 
acted as the dead man's private secretary, and who was 
a very presentable young man, the delight of the even- 
ing-party-givers of Surbiton ; Mr. M'Quiddit from Bed- 
ford Row, who was met on the door-step by his clerk, 
who presented him with an oblong packet, which the 



THE HOUSE OF MOURNING. 373 

lawyer deposited in the library before joining the rest of 
the company ; and little Dr. Prater, looking preterna- 
turally solemn and wise, — all these gathered together to 
see Gustav Schroder to his grave. On the dining-room 
table were cold fowls (already cut up, and tied together 
with pieces of black crape) and cold viands ; but save 
Mr. M'Quiddit, who had come up from his country-house 
at Datchet ani was hungry, no one tasted food. The 
decanters, however, were put into requisition ; and the 
great butler took occasion to whisper in Dr. Prater's 
ear a recommendation of some Vino di Pasta as being 
something special. Then came that most horrid time of 
all, when there was a bumping and a scuffling on the 
stairs, and a creaking of the bannisters. Every body 
knew what caused it and what it meant ; and there was 
an involuntary silence which made the talk, when they 
began again to talk, seem more hollow and forced than 
it had been before. Then, draped in silk scarves, and 
wearing hats swaddled in crape, the mourners ascended 
the coaches, walking to them through a lane of boys, 
and were borne off to Kensal Green ; on alighting at the 
gates of which dismal necropolis, they were marshalled 
into proper order by the head undertaker, and so marched 
in procession to the grave. There a gentleman, who 
really could not be complained of when it was remem- 
bered that he had done duty four times already that day, 
and expected to do it three times again, half drawled, 
half cantered through the most beautiful service of the 
Church, that for the burial of the dead, without the 
smallest atom of expression, and apparently without 
knowing what he was about ; then he shut his book, and 
the bystanders one by one looked into the grave — and 
all was over. The mourning-coaches, which had come 
so slowly, went merrily back ; the Schroders went to the 
City house, and sent telegrams and read share-lists, and 
talked of how soon Gustav's share in the concern ought to 
be realised ; the uncles and cousins did much the same ; 
the presentable clerk had a holiday, and met a few lady 
friends at the Zoological Gardens ; Dr. Prater lunched at 



374 BROKEST TO HARNESS. 

a rich patient's, where he told the story of Mr. Schroder's 
death, and dined at another rich patient's where he told 
it again ; and Mr. M'Quiddit had an interview with the 
widow and gave her a short abstract of the will, which 
Was eminently satisfactory. 

It had been proposed by the deceased gentleman's 
brothers, who were his executors, that the widow should 
leave town for a few weeks, — should run down to Brigh- 
ton or Tunbridge Wells, — and thus, in change of scene, 
shake off the excess of grief under which they found her 
to be really labouring. But under a strange state of 
feeling which is scarcely describable, but which origi- 
nated in an idea that her determination to do her duty 
to the utmost would not be properly carried out, were 
she to allow herself any thing like indulgence, poor little 
Alice decided upon stopping in Saxe-Coburg Square and 
thenceforward entering upon the useful state of life 
which she had proposed to herself. Perhaps in this de- 
cision she was a little guided by her feeling for Barbara : 
the regard which had always existed between them (re- 
gard on Barbara's side mingled with a sense of supe- 
riority leading to pity, the regard which a grand Scotch 
deerhound might feel for a little thin-limbed Italian 
greyhound pet) had very much increased since the recent 
calamity. Alice had experienced a sisterly tenderness at 
Barbara's hands which she had never thought Barbara 
capable of feeling ; Barbara had seen in Alice a fixed 
propriety of purpose such as she had never given Alice 
credit for. And Alice was by no means so selfish or se 
thoroughly wrapped up in her own grief as not to see 
that, although Barbara pretended to look upon her own 
married career as entirely at an end, yet in reality she 
had by no means given up all hope of a happy reconci- 
liation with Frank. A sudden peal at the bell would 
make her cheek flame ; her nervousness at the sight of 
Pilkington entering the room with letters was unmis- 
takable ; and in a thousand other ways she gave evidence 
of her heart's yearnings. So Alice felt that while this 



THE HOUSE OP MOURNING. 375 

unsettled state of affairs lasted, Barbara's home must be 
with her, and that a removal from town would be highly- 
antagonistic to any chance of a settlement which might 
transpire ; and as this entirely coincided with her own 
views, she elected to remain in town. 

Mr. Schroder's will had been made a, few months 
before his death, and was in accordance with the general 
tenor of his married life. It ordered that his share in 
the City firm should be realised at the earliest favour- 
able opportunity^ and that it and all his other invest- 
ments should be lodged in the name of trustees for his 
wife's use and disposal. As this represented a very large 
annual income, and as the details of the will soon be- 
came public through the medium of the press, the " kind- 
inquiries" cards began to shower down in Saxe-Coburg 
Square. You, who are rich, find these amicable condo- 
lences sent in at once, in such times. You, who are poor, 
know that in general there is a little hanging fire until 
it is understood what will be the fature position of the 
family. In the present day the vast proportion of middle- 
class people occupy a factitious position in society; fac- 
titious, that is to say, thus far — that its existence de- 
pends entirety on the life of the father, husband, bread- 
winner. So long as his good income is made, so good; 
but when he dies, despite all his attempts' at laying-by, 
his precautions in insuring his life, the whole thing 
changes ; all the little luxuries have to be given up, and 
the family sinks into a decidedly lower circle of society. 
That is why the great law-giver Society waits to hear 
the will read before he nods approval on visits of con- 
dolence being paid. In this case there could be not 
much doubt about money; but there were some peculiar 
features, — " a sudden death, my dear, and that sort of 
thing;" and it was thought better by Mrs. Grundy, and 
her set, to wait a little, until there could be no possible 
doubt on the matter. After a little time, the intimates 
of the house were admitted. Old Mr. Townshend was still 
away on the Continent; and there never seemed to have 
been any other member of the Townshend family; but 



376 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the Schroders came down in flocks. The wives of the 
brothers, and the sisters, and the daughters' nieces, and 
cousins twice removed, — who so kind as they in time of 
trouble? Their husbands and fathers might be money- 
grubbers in the City of London; in them was nothing 
but the good old German spirit of kindness, of brother* 
hood and sisterhood, of honest help and open-handed 
affection, which had first flourished when they were all 
poor stragglers in the Frankfort Judengasse, which had 
lasted until they were among the most opulent of the 
earth. And Dr. Prater was there, of course, every day, 
chirrupping softly about the house, and going from 
thence up and down and into the ends of the London 
world, and talking of the enormous wealth left by his 
poor deceased friend Mr. Schroder to his interesting 
patient Mrs. Schroder. And Captain Lyster came, send- 
ing up his card, and proffering his services in. any man- 
ner in which they might be required; and then Barbara 
saw him; and after a little time Alice saw him; and his 
services were brought into requisition, and proved to be 
eminently useful. For when Fred Lyster chose to shake 
off his drawl, and to apply himself, there were few men 
with a quicker or a keener appreciation of what ought to 
be; and in settling affairs, there were numerous cases 
arose in which a lady could not possibly interfere, and 
in which the intervention of some one prompt, clear- 
headed, and business-like, was indispensable. And as 
Fred Lyster had never any thing to do, he had full lei- 
sure to attend to these matters, and entered into them 
with an eagerness and a perseverance which astonished 
all who saw him — save Barbara, who perhaps might have 
made a shrewd guess as to the mainspring of his actions. 
Poor George Pringle had called too. He had been a 
good deal cut up by the death of Mr. Schroder, whom he 
had been accustomed to describe as " a good old cock, 
sir; a worthy old party; kind-hearted and all that, and 
giving no end good feeds;" and he had, in his rough way, 
great sympathy for his cousin Alice, — " a poor little thing, 
sir; left alone, with nothing to console her." 



THE HOUSE OF MOURNING. 877 

With consolation-end in view, Mr. Pringle arrived 
one Sunday afternoon at the door of the house in Saxe- 
Coburg Square, in a hansom cab, whence he extracted a 
smooth English white terrier, with a black patch over 
one eye. Taking this animal under his arm, he, after 
making due inquiries after Mrs. Schroder's health, trans- 
ferred it to the frightened grasp of Pilkington, requesting 
that it might be at once carried up-stairs with his love. 
Pilkington was horribly frightened, — he " never could 
abide dawgs;" and so no sooner was the door closed than 
he set the animal down in the hall, where, catching sight 
of the well-fed calves of Eawbert the footman, it presently 
began to lick its lips, and growled in a very ominous 
manner. 

Mr. Beresford called three times: once immediately 
after the announcement of the death, when he simply 
left his card; once on the day after the funeral, when, 
besides his card, he left a warm message of inquiry; once 
a fortnight after, when " he hoped he might be permitted 
to see Mrs. Schroder." Barbara was with Alice in her 
boudoir when this message arrived; and she noticed that 
the poor little woman went deadly white as she listened, 
and then flushed deeply. 

" Oh, no, no I" she exclaimed ; " I cannot see him. 
Barbara darling, I never will see him again. I hate the 
mention of his name ; it jars upon me now ; I cannot 
tell you how — oh, no, no !" And so Barbara framed a 
polite reply in Alice's name, and Mr. Beresford went 
away. 

That night, as Barbara sat in her own room, feeling 
veiy weary and worn, and with an irrepressible yearning 
towards her husband and her home, the tears rose in her 
eyes ; and, determined not to indulge in the luxury of 
" a good cry," she drew out her handkerchief, and with 
it a paper, which fell to the ground at her feet. Looking 
down at it as it lay there, she recognised the paper which 
had been found in the library, and handed to her by Dr. 
Prater, on the night of Mr. Schroder's death, and which 
had ever since entirely escaped her recollection. She 



378 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

picked it up from the carpet, and opened it ; but no 
sooner had her eyes fallen on the inside than she gave a 
start of astonishment, and uttered a low cry. The same ! 
— unquestionably the same handwriting ! The circum- 
stances connected with both previous occasions ■ of her 
having seen it far too deeply impressed it on her mind 
to allow of her being mistaken. It was that long scrawly 
handwriting — unmistakably that of a woman only par- 
tially educated — in which the letters to Frank Churchill 
— that delivered at Bissett, and the envelope found in 
the dressing-room — had both been addressed. If Bar- 
bara's heart beat fast when her eyes first fell upon the 
lines, how much more disturbed was she when she read 
their contents, as follows: 

" Your wife is false to you, and is carrying on with a 
Mr. Beresford. They meet every clay, ride together, and 
deceive you. Watch them, and you will find this out. 
It has been going on for some time — for months. It is 
a thing that Beresford has meant for a long time ; and 
he always carries out what he means. I know him well. 

" A Friend." 

It was, then, the receipt of this letter which had had 
such fatal effect on poor Mr. Schroder. He had fallen, 
pierced "to the heart by this anonymous stab. Any ex- 
citement, any worry, or anxiety, coming suddenly on 
him, might have ended his life at any time, Dr. Prater 
had said; and so — Dr. Prater? It was he who had picked 
up this paper from the library-floor, on to which it had 
fallen from the dead man's hand. The doctor had asked 
her Avhether there had been any cause for, sudden excite- 
ment; had suggested that the paper should not be shown 
to Mrs. Schroder; that its existence need hot be men- 
tioned before the coroner. He had read it, thea. Bar- 
bara had no need to think twice to assure herself on that 
point. That the imputations on Alice which the anony- 
mous letter conveyed were unfounded, Barbara had not 
the smallest doubt. She knew that her friend, though 
thoughtless, had never, even in thought, been guilty; 



THE HOUSE OF MOURNING. 379 

and knew that she now bitterly repented her levity and 
silliness. It would be worse than cruel to let her know 
of the existence of this document ; it must be kept from 
her at all hazards. Alice's horror of Mr. Beresford was 
now so great as to require no fanning; and Barbara was 
certain that of her own free will the widow would never 
see him again. But in the event of Mr. Beresford's de- 
manding an interview, what was to be done then ? Poor 
Barbara found it impossible to answer this self-proposed 
question; and there was no one to whom she could apply 
for advice. Captain Lyster had been her mainstay in 
several cases ; but this was a delicate matter, which it 
was impossible to make him acquainted with. Oh, if she 
only had Frank to turn to ! and that sent her thoughts 
reverting to the handwriting. Whose could it be ? — who 
could be the owner of that fatal griff e, which seemed to 
bring desolation with it wherever it arrived? And at 
the end of her reverie, finding herself no clearer in her 
suspicions than she was at first, Barbara locked the note 
into her desk, and determined to leave to chance the use 
she might eventually make of it. 



CHAPTER XXXIV- 

ET TU BRUTE ! 

On the morning succeeding the day on which Mr. Schro- 
der died, Mr. Simnel sat in his room in the Tin-Tax 
Office, deep in a reverie. The newspaper lay on the 
floor at his feet ; he was slowly rubbing the knee from 
which it had just fallen, and his other hand supported 
his chin. The news had come upon him suddenly; and 
he was calmly thinking to what results the occurrence 
might tend. Had he been at his club the night before, 
he would have heard the whisper which, thanks to Dr. 
Prater, was then permeating the West End ; but on his 
return from Kate Mellon's, Mr. Simnel had quietly dined 
in his own rooms, and there remained for the rest of the 
evening, arranging his plans. Thus the first intimation 
which he had received of the event was from the columns 
of the newspaper then lying at his feet; in which a para- 
graph headed " Sudden death of a City-merchant" had 
speedily claimed his attention. Matters of weighty im- 
portance had Mr. Simnel to filter through his mind in 
the course of that reverie. He was a worldy-minded 
man, but by no means a bad man at heart ; and the fact 
of the rich man's death at that particular time struck 
him as specially touching and softening. The newspaper 
described the anguish of the dead man's widow as " in- 
expressible ;" and though Simnel, from his experience, 
was not inclined to lay much stress on the exactness of 
that statement, yet he felt that in all probability the little 
woman of whom he had heard so much, would probably 
be very much distressed. From all he had learned, he 
believed that of late the relations between her and her 



ET TU" BllUTE ! 381 

husband had been very much deepened and strengthened. 
He guessed somewhat of this from the fact that Beres- 
ford had been more than infrequent and shy in his allu- 
sions to that menage, and to the pursuit he was engaged 
in in that quarter. Beresford? By Jove! then his chance 
was come much sooner than either of them had antici- 
pated ! the great obstacle was removed, and he had the 
course clear before him. No, not exactly clear; the 
manner of her husband's death, the suddenness of it, 
would create a great revulsion in Mrs. Schroder's mind, 
and greatly imperil Mr. Beresford's chances, however 
strong they might be. Whether they were strong or not 
was a matter of doubt in Mr. Simnel's mind ; he had a 
great contempt for Beresford's word, knowing him to be 
possessed of a happy inability to speak truth ; and some- 
times he doubted whether his colleague had really made 
any play worth mentioning at the house in Saxe-Coburg 
Square. Then Mr. Simnel began rubbing his knee more 
violently than ever, as he thought that the whole affair 
from first to last was very disreputable, and one whicli 
redounded to the credit of no one engaged in it. Would 
it not be better to drop Mr. Beresford altogther, and 
leave him to fight his own way in the matter ? It cer- 
tainly would be more honourable and satisfactory in 
every way ; but then— why then, if Mr. Beresford did 
not marry some rich woman (and Mrs. Schroder was his 
best chance), he would go to the dogs ; and then what 
would become of his, Simnel's, eight hundred and twenty 
five pounds ? Worse still, if Beresford did not succeed 
with Mrs. Schroder, he might suddenly veer round, and 
on the impulse of the moment, and under the pressure 
of creditors, go up and declare for Kate Mellon's hand. 
And Simnel was by no means certain that that young 
woman would decline such an offer, even after all that 
had occurred; on the contrary, being naturally suspi- 
cious, and on the present occasion jealous and in love, 
the thought sent such a twinge through him, that he 
shrugged his shoulders, and made up his mind that 
things must take their course. 



382 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

As he sat there, rubbing his leg much more calmly 
after arriving at this determination, the door opened, 
and Mr. Beresford entered the room. He nodded airily, 
and, pointing to the newspaper on the floor, said, " You've 
seen it, of course ? That chattering doctor-fellow was 
right, you see. What do you think of it ?" 

" Of it ? of what ? of Mr. Schroder's death, do you 
mean ? I think it a very sad thing." 

" The devil you do !" said Mr. Beresford with a 
sneering laugh ; " the door's shut, Simnel ; don't you 
think you'd better drop that innocence when you and I 
are alone together ?" 

He was a cur, this man, and instinctively a cad ; he 
had been as miserable as possible for weeks; but he 
thought he saw the breaking-up of the dark clouds now, 
and immediately began to swagger and hector on the 
strength of it. 

" Be good enough to understand, Mr. Beresford, that 
that is language which I don't permit any lody to use 
to me !" said Simnel, through his shut teeth, and with a 
very white face ; " I repeat that I think Mr. Schroder's 
death a very sad thing. Why do you choose to sneer 
when I say so ?" 

"No, no, not sneer: hang it, old fellow! you take 
one up so infernally sharp. Bad thing, of course it is, 
for him, poor devil ; but good thing for me ; and as you 
know rather more of me than you did of him, I fancied 
I should have had your congratulations." 

" Oh, I see," said Simnel ; " you fancy you ought to 
have received my congratulations : on what, may I ask?" 

" Look here, Simnel !" said Beresford, turning sa- 
vagely round ; " drop this infernal nonsense ; it doesn't 
do here, and it's ill-timed. Don't come the non-mi-ricordo 
business, after having been arch-conspirator and sug- 
gested every thing. Plainly, the death of this unfor- 
tunate man is in my favour, because he was the principal 
obstacle in my way to the success of our scheme ; and 
he is removed." 

" Well; looking at it in that' way — " 



ET TIT BRUTE ! 383 

" In that way ! in what other way would you look at 
it ? It's in a remarkably £ s. d. kind of way that it 
presents itself to me, I can tell you. I don't mind 
mentioning now, Simnel, what I shouldn't have let on 
otherwise; that I'm tremendously dipped; in for — ay, I 
daresay, three thousand more than you know any thing 
about ; and here's the chance come just in the nick of 
time." 

" Where did you get in for this ? and where did you 
£et the money ?" 

'•Get in for it? Doncaster, the CEesarewitch, the 
Cambridgeshire ! each infernal thing went to the bad. 
I stood a cracker on the first ; then tried a pull through 
with the other two ; and was all wrong with the lot. 
Scadgers, Parkinson, and a new man, Barnett, of Stam- 
ford Street, over the water, did the advances ; but I 
should have looked very blue, if this hadn't come off, 
I can tell you." 

" You're a little sanguine, are you not ? It hasn't 
come off yet, has it ?" 

" What a wet blanket you are, Simnel ! No, of 
course not. Indeed there's been a strong element of 
virtue and duty, and all that sort of thing, introduced 
of late. But now there's no necessity for that. The 
actual fancy and liking always existed, I flatter myself; 
and now all that can be indulged in without the slightest 
suspicion of vice." 

" To be sure, to be sure," muttered Mr. Simnel, 
ruminating ; " you'll have to proceed very cautiously ; 
but that you'll of course understand." Mr. Beresford, 
by this time half way to the door, nodded his head and 
went out. 

Some few days afterwards Mr. Simnel was again 
honoured by a visit in his room from the Commissioner. 
The latter gentleman looked worn and tired ; he threw 
himself into a chair and began beating his boot with his 
cane, and seemed altogether out of sorts. Mr. Simnel 
noticed all this, and was tolerably prepared for what was 
coming. " What's the matter, sir ?" he asked quietly; 



384 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

"have you had too many papers to sign; or are you 
annoyed at having to come down to this plebeian part 
of the town so early as two o'clock ; or haven't you had 
your lunch ; or what is it ?" 

" Don't chaff, Simnel ; I'm not in the humour for 
chaff just now. I'm afraid I'm getting into a hole at last." 

" What's the matter now ?" 

" Oh, these infernal fellows are putting on the screw 
— lawyer's letters, writs, and all that rascally machinery; 
and I don't see a chance of staving them off. If I could 
have said any thing about a rich marriage now — " 

" That's exactly what I was coming to. How about 
Saxe-Coburg Square ?" 

" Well, fishy, very fishy. I've called there three 
times ; the last time sending in specially and particularly 
to say that I wanted to speak to her; and still the same 
answer — compliments — not kind regards, you know — 
compliments, and utterly unable to see me. No hint of 
a future opportunity — nothing !" 

" That looks badly, certainly. What do you intend 
to do ?" 

" Do ! Go there again. Have it out, by hook or by 
crook. By Jove, I will see her ! I'll remind her that — " 

" Doesn't this strike you as devilish low behaviour ? 
Don't you see that to thrust yourself in where you are 
evidently not wanted, to break in upon the privacy of a 
lady, who is in the beginning of her first great sorrow — " 

" Oh, drop that, please. Doesn't it strike you that I 
owe you nearly nine hundred pounds, and other people 
a great deal more ; and that if they're not paid, I shall 
be arrested and sold up ? And don't you see, therefore, 

that I must No, by Jove ! I don't see why I should ; 

you're quite right ; it is an ungentlemanly business, and 
I'm sick of all this dodging and duffing and forcing 
myself down the throat of a woman whose liking for me 
seems to have gone off. But there's one who would still 
seem to care about me, Simnel, my boy, I'll wager any 
money; and one whom I've been a fool not to think of 
before— Kate Mellon !" 



et tv brute: ;;«;") 

"Kate Mcllun?" echoed Mr. Simnel with scowling 
brows. 

•' Yes, Kate Mellon! She's got ready-money enough 
to pay off all my ticks and set me square; and then I 
could keep square. I'm sure she'd forget all tliat stupid 
business of which I told you; though I've never seen 
her since. I could put that right iu a minute; and — " 

'• I don't think it would do," said Mr. Simnel ear- 
nestly— "I don't think it would do. Miss Mellon's 
status iu society would be fatal to all your hopes of ad- 
vancement. Your aunt Lady Lowndes and the bishop 
would cut you dead; and remember," added he, after a 
pause, and with an attempt at a, smile, very ghastly and 
gummy and forced, " I am interested in this matter to 
the extent of eight hundred pounds, and I don't think 
it would do. I'm disposed to recommend you to hold 
to the other, which appears to me to want only a little 
patience, and — if I understand from you the security of 
your position — an undoubted declaration to bring to a 
favourable issue." 

" And what would you advise?" 

"A letter. I will draft you what I should suggest; 
and if you approve, you can copy it, or embody it in any 
thing else you have to say to Mrs. Schroder ;" and Mr. 
Simnel sat down at once at his desk and began to write. 
Mr. Beresford sat watching him the while. Not a change 
in Simnel's face, not an inflexion of his voice, had es- 
caped him; and he wondered what it all meant, and in 
what Kate Mellon's fortunes could have influence over 
the impassible secretary of the Tin-Tax Office. 

Two days after this interview, Mr. Beresford called 
in Saxe-Coburg Square and sent up his card, requesting 
an interview with Mrs. Schroder. The usual message of 
excuse being returned to him, he gave the servant a 
letter which be had brought with him, and begged that 
the man would take it to his mistress; he would await 
the answer. Mrs. Schroder, seated in her boudoir, read 
the Dote, seemed greatly disturbed, told the man that 

cc 



386 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

she would send an answer downstairs by her maid, and 
immediately rushed off to the adjacent bedroom, where 
Barbara Churchill was lamenting all that had happened, 
and wondering what was to be the end of her life. 

" Barbara, Barbara darling, what shall I do ?" ex- 
claimed the poor little woman; " here is Mr. Beresford 
come again, and he wanted to see me, and I said no, as 
we had determined, and then he sent me up this dreadful 
letter ! Oh, what shall I say to him, dear ? oh, do help 
me, there's a darling." 

Barbara took the letter from Alice's shaking hand 
and read it. It was not a pleasing composition; it 
began in an injured tone, and then grew mysterious, and 
then almost threatening. The writer demanded an in- 
terview, and justified his demand by referring to certain 
bygone circumstances which the reader would readily 
remember; and the whole tone was sentimentally prurient 
and offensive and objectionable in the highest degree. 
Poor little Alice had not seen any thing of this kind in 
it; she had merely found it "horrid" and "impertinent;" 
but Barbara's cheek flamed as she perused it, and the 
tone of her voice was rather sharp as she said, " Is the 
man still here, Alice?" 

"What man, dear? Mr. Beresford?" 

" Of course ! — is there any other ? Oh, he is here. 
Very well, then, leave me this letter, and I will go down 
and speak to him about it." 

" You'll see Mm, Barbara?" 

" Yes," said Barbara, who was already opening her 
desk and looking for something therein. " It will be 
the best way. You'll find he won't trouble you any 
more." She kissed Alice at the door, and walking down 
stairs and into the drawing-room, confronted Mr. Beres- 
ford. 

That gentleman was seated near the window with a 
book of photographs, at which he was not looking, in 
his hand. He rose as he heard the door open, and ad- 
vanced rapidly when he saw the female figure : the room 
was somewhat darkened by heavy curtains, and he could 



ET TU BRUTE ! 387 

not clearly make out who it was. When Barbara, stop- 
ping, pulled herself to her full height, he stopped, too, 
disappointed; he expected some one far less majestic. 

" You wished to see Mrs. Schroder, I believe, Mr. 
Beresford," said Barbara, after the first salutation : '• I 
come as her representative." 

" I am very sensible of the honour you do me, Mrs. 
Churchill," replied Beresford; "but I fear that no re- 
presentative will do. I want to speak to Mrs. Schroder 
herself." 

" That is impossible," said Barbara, calmly. 

" Impossible is a very strong word, Mrs. Churchill. 
I sent Mrs. Schroder a letter — " 

" Oh, yes, here it is; it is about this letter that I 
have come to you. You'll sit, Mr. Beresford, please; for 
this is likely to be a prolonged talk. Now you know 
that I am Mrs. Schroder's oldest and most intimate 
friend, and as such I am deputed to answer this letter." 

" Pardon me, I have no grounds for believing the 
latter part — " 

" Except my word ; and you won't doubt that ? No ! 
I thought not! Now, Mr. Beresford, I am about to 
speak very plainly to you, always relying on you as a 
gentleman. Mrs. Schroder is very young, and rather 
thoughtless and not too much gifted with brains. Since 
you have been acquainted with her, both before and 
after marriage, you have paid her small attentions, such 
as no woman dislikes. They were attentions such as 
the rigidly-censorious might shake their heads at; but 
which no woman, knowing her own rectitude and con- 
scious of the proper understanding existing between her 
husband and herself, need have been afraid of. But the 
case is altered now ! Poor Alice is unfortunately in the 
position of having no husband as her guide and safe- 
guard, and — these attentions must cease !" 

"You speak as Mrs. Schroder's mouthpiece, Mrs. 
Churchill?" 

" Precisely ! In this letter which I have here, there 
is a tone which I am sure you did not intend to convey; 



388 BROKEN" TO HARNESS. 

but about which it is my duty to speak to you plainly. 
Under present circumstances Mrs. Schroder feels it ne- 
cessary to limit her knowledge of you to that of the 
merest acquaintance. There is no other footing on 
which you can know each other. If you were not what 
I know you to be, a gentleman, I should point out that 
there is not, nor ever has been, any thing between you 
which could lead you to any other supposition — no let- 
ters, no any thing which ill-natured persons could lay 
hold of — you follow me?" 

" Ye-es, ye-es !" said Beresford, feeling that he was 
outwitted. 

" That is right — so, as you are a gentleman, I don't 
mind telling you the urgent necessity for the adoption 
of this course. Notwithstanding the absence of any such 
evidence as I have spoken of, the world has chosen to 
talk." 

" Ah, ah !" said Mr. Beresford, with a smile of re- 
turning satisfaction. 

" Yes, in its usual base and unfounded manner. Here 
is an anonymous letter which was addressed to the late 
Mr. Schroder." 

" Let me look at it!" said Beresford, eagerly. 
" It is here;" and Barbara handed to him the paper 
picked off the library-floor by Dr. Prater. 

Mr. Beresford took the letter from her hand. The 
instant his eye fell on the handwriting, Barbara, who 
was looking at him steadfastly, saw his colour change 
and his hand shake. But he read it through without 
saying a word, and returned it to her with a bow. 

" You will see now, Mr. Beresford, the utter impos- 
sibility of Mrs. Schroder's permitting her acquaintance 
with you to continue," said Barbara. "You will see 
that the note which you addressed to her can have no 
answer but that which I have already given you; and 
that henceforth, as a gentleman, you are bound in hon- 
our not to — " 

"Of course! of course!" replied Beresford; "it is of 
the other letter I am thinking now." And he set his 



ET TU IUI.UTE! o89 

teeth and struck his ungloved hand violently with his 
cane. " You have introduced a new element into the 
discussion, Mrs. Churchill, and you must pardon me if 
I close it here. What my future course may be, circum- 
stances must determine: I make no promise, as I make 
no threats; but — " 

'• We will close the discussion at once, sir, if you 
please!" said Barbara, haughtily. 

'•At once," said Beresford, with a bow. "Believe 
me that the advocacy of that anonymous person — whose 
handwriting I recognise — though useful perhaps, as time 
may prove — is by no means flattering." 

He bowed again and left the room. " By no means 
flattering!" echoed Barbara after he had gone; "it is, 
then, as I suspected, some horrible wretch who has cast 
this shadow over my life!" 



s> 



CHAPTER XXXV- 

BALTHAZAE. 

Me. Simnel sat calmly over his breakfast in his rooms in 
Piccadilly, little dreaming of all that had occurred on 
the previous day in Saxe-Coburg Square. He skimmed 
the newspaper; he dallied with his toast; he laid down 
his knife and fork and paused in his meal, smiling to 
himself with the air of a man who had reason for self- 
gratulation. Such reason had Mr. Simnel. He had 
fought a very long and arduous and up-hill fight — a 
fight in which the odds were all against him, and which 
he had won entirely by patience and excellent general- 
ship. And now the difficulties were surmounted; the 
land lay straight before him; and he was just about to 
clutch the prize which, with so much trouble, he had 
won. "You shall have it, Robert!" those were the last 
words which she had said to him; words which haunted 
Ms memory, which he found himself repeating over and 
over again. The woman he had loved so long and so 
quietly, who at one time appeared far beyond the power 
of his grasp, had succumbed; he had won her honestly, 
and by his own tact and perseverance; and she would be 
his own! There would be a bar sinister in her escut- 
cheon, but what of that ? Against herself, against the 
propriety of her conduct, no one had ever dared to drop 
a hint. Her father should make such a settlement on 
her as, coupled with his own money, would relieve her 
from the necessity of pursuing her then occupation, of 
doing any. thing but play her part as mistress of her 
house, and enjoy herself. What a fool was Beresford! — 
ah, that opened up a fresh vein of thought! He had said 



BALTHAZAR. 391 

yesterday that, failing in his pursuit of Mrs. Schroder, he 
should fall back on Kate Mellon, and try and patch up 
that severed alliance. Simnel's heart beat loudly as this 
recurred to his mind; he knew how deep had been the 
attachment which Kate had formed for Beresford, and 
he was not sure that she would not be even yet willing 
to listen to proposals of peace. She must not have the 
chance — that was what he determined; and he rang his 
bell hurriedly, and sat biting his nails until it was an- 
swered. 

"You saw Mr. Scadgers?" he demanded of his ser- 
vant. 

"Yes, sir; he will be at your office at one o'clock." 

" Good; now go over at once to Austin Friars to Mr. 
Townshend s office. Tell the head-clerk," said he, taking 
a telegraphic despatch from his pocket, " that his master 
will arrive at London Bridge at half-past one, and that 
he must send some one to meet him. Say that I shall 
be with Mr. Townshend at three sharp. You under- 
stand?" The valet answered in the affirmative and left 
the room, returning in a few minutes and ushering in 
Mr. Beresford. That gentleman looked any thing but 
happy; his face was of a dull leaden hue, his eyes were 
dull and red-rimmed, and the tell-tale . muscles of his 
mouth were working visibly. He flung himself into a 
chair, and as soon as the door closed, said: "Here's a 
devil of a go!" 

"What's the matter, man?" asked Simnel. "Look 
here — you're all out of sorts — lips going and hands shak- 
ing — just steady yourself before you speak. Here!" and 
he unlocked a sideboard and placed a liqueur-stand be- 
fore his friend. 

''That's better!" said Beresford, draining a wine- 
glass of brandy. " I am all wrong, and enough to make 
me! Thought I'd catch you here before you went down 
to work. I've no end to tell you — " 

"Tell on!" said Mr. Simnel; and, so encouraged, 
Beresford narrated every thing that had occurred be- 
tween him and Barbara the preceding day, respecting 



392 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

the anonymous letter and the conversation that had en- 
sued thereanent, word for word. 

As Mr. Simnel listened his heart sunk within him, 
and it was with the greatest difficulty that he prevented 
himself from displaying his emotion. He succeeded, 
however, so admirably, that though the colour of his 
face might have gone a shade or two paler, not a muscle 
of it moved, and when Beresford stopped, he said, with- 
out a tremor in his voice, " What do you intend to 
do?" 

" To do!" screamed Beresford — "well, upon my soul, 
Simnel, you are a wonderful man! I tell you this tre- 
mendous story, which, for heartless villany, beats any 
thing I ever heard — and done by a woman too ! — and all 
you ask is, what I intend to do ! Do ! — I intend to 
punish that she-devil, cost what it may! to — " 

" Steady, sir! you're using strong language — " 

"Oh! what! Kate Mellon, I mean; not Mrs. Schro- 
der — my mind's made up with regard to her! I shall — " 

" Look here, Beresford; did you come here to rave 
and storm before me, or to ask my advice? — Avhich?" 

" I don't know what the deuce you mean by raving 
and storming! You'd do the same if you'd been treated 
in this way by a— there, never mind, I'll take your ad- 
vice if — " 

"If it agrees with your own plans! generous crea- 
ture! Now look here; you're in a horrible state of rage 
and fever, in which you can do no good. My advice to 
you is, to go away straight at once. Go out of town 
somewhere for a fortnight, and then come back and see 
how the land lies." 

"And so lose every chance I've got! No, thank ye. 
You know all that business yesterday was Mrs. Churchill, 
not Mrs. Schroder. I don't believe the widow knows a 
word about that cursed letter; and there may be a chance 
of getting over her yet, though that Churchill woman is 
as deep as the Whissendine. She and I always hated 
each other, I think, and I don't intend to let her beat 
me now; no! I've sent a line to Mrs. Schroder marked 



"BALTHAZAR. 393 

private, without any flummery of former days, or any 
thing of that sort, — simply begging her to meet me in 
the Row this afternoon, and give me five minutes' talk. 
If she does that, I think I can put matters square; and 
if not— " 

" And if not?" 

"Well, if not, by George, Simnel, up goes the sponge, 
and no mistake. There are three writs out against me, 
and I fancy some of Sloman's people are on. There 
have been some fellows hanging about my door in South 
Audley Street; and I fancy, from what Stephens says, 
they were any thing but the right sort. What are you 
thinking about?" 

" I was thinking," said Mr. Simnel slowly, " that if 
this Schroder business does not come off',— and I don't 
think it will,- — you'd better send in a certificate from 
Prater or some one, and get away to the Continent for 
six months." 

" Well, we'll wait and see what to-day brings forth, 
f.t all events. If it don't do, I'll very likely take your 
advice." 

After Mr. Beresford had gone, Mr. Simnel sat with 
his feet on the fender, slowly rubbing his knee. " It 
must be hurried through at once," he said to himself. 
•' I'll square the settlement to-day ; and if Beresford fails 
with Mrs. Schroder, he must be got out of town and 
abroad. Vengeance, eh ? no, not quite that, my fine 
fellow. Long before you come back, there'll be some- 
body with a right to interfere, if any thing like venge- 
ance is threatened." 

And how fared it with Kate Mellon all this while ? 
what had happened to the pivot on which so many 
schemes of love and hate, of worship and revenge, were 
turning ? In a bad way was Kate Mellon, mentally and 
thence physically. The news of Mr. Schroder's death, 
which she had read accidentally in an " odds and ends" 
column of a cheap sporting-paper, had come upon her 
with a terrific shock. She had compared dates, and 



394 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

found that it had happened on the day after the despatch 
of her letter ; and though there was nothing to create 
any connexion between the circumstances, she felt a kind 
of horrible impression that by her act she had hastened 
his end. This preyed upon her mind ; and as she had 
no one in whom to confide — (had Simnel come up in the 
interval, it is probable that she would have told him all, 
for the sake of getting a scrap of consolation, of advice — 
of mere talk — so weightily did the retention of the secret 
lie on her), — she fretted and worried herself, and each 
day grew more feverish, more unsettled, more discon- 
tented. One horrible thought she had, which swallowed 
up all the rest— might not she unconsciously have helped 
her rival to her happiness ! If this fair-haired woman 
cared for Charley, as had been stated (and as she had 
seen with her own eyes), she could not have cared for 
her husband. He was now removed, and there was 
nothing to prevent a marriage between them. Here 
was a phantom which nothing could lay ; a spectre 
which would haunt her day and night, ever mocking and 
gibing at her ; and she tossed in ceaseless torture, and 
grew paler and thinner, and took less interest in her 
business every day. 

On the day on which Mr. Beresford and Mr. Simnel 
had the conversation just narrated, Kate Mellon lay on 
the sofa in her little drawing-room, listless and drowsy, 
as was her wont nowadays, and with her head buried in 
her hands. She roused herself at a loud knock at the 
door, and bade the person enter. It was old Freeman, 
the stud-groom. 

" Here's Hockley, miss, just coom down from town 
staables. Black harse from Ireland, 'raived last neet." 

" What horse, Freeman ?" 

" Waat harse, eh ? Mai bairn, thee'rt gangin' daft 
wi' soommut ; ai heeard not waat ! Waat harse ? why, 
black harse we bought of Markis Clonmel — black hoonter 
which Johnson wrote aboot last week." 

"Ay, ay, I recollect! What does Hocklev say of 
him ?" 



BALTHAZAR. 395 

" Hockley says he's tearer ! groom as browt him to 
steamer said as nowt could hold him ! I'se warrant we 
teach him mariners !" 

" Yes ; I'll do that myself, and at once too ! I want 
a little rousing. Put a pair into the wagonette, Free- 
man, and drive me down to Down Street. I'll give this 
horse a turn at once !" 

Besides her establishment at The Den, Kate Mellon 
had a set of stables near Piccadilly, which were mainly 
devoted to the reception of new arrivals from the coun- 
try, and as temporary resting-places for the horses re- 
quired for Eotten-Eow pupils. These stables were 
equally perfectly appointed with The Den; and when 
the wagonette containing Kate and her head-groom 
drove in, she found a portion of her staff ready to re- 
ceive her. 

" "What's this new Irish horse like, Tanner ?" said 
she to her town manager. 

" A bad 'un, miss ; a rank bad 'un as ever stepped ! 
Good 'oss, fine-made 'oss ! jump any think ; good slopin' 
shoulders, and henormous quarters ; but the temper of 
- — savin' your presence — the devil ! He pinned one of 
the men when he was a-dressin' him this morning, and 
his hi rolls fearful ;" and Mr. Tanner, who, though a 
thorough horseman, was an undeniable Cockney, led the 
way towards the loose box where the new arrival was 
standing. " They calls 'im Balthazar," said he ; " and 
if that means a out-an'-out bad 'un, they're right." 

They found him in a loose bos at the end of the yard, 
a big brown-black horse, sixteen and a half, six off, with 
a long lean head, deep neck, round barrel, deep chesi, 
low back, short forehand, big broad foot. As the door 
of the box opened he turned his eye round, showing an 
inflamed white, put back his ears, and lashed out 
savagely. 

" Hold on, mon !" said old Freeman ; " steady, boy ; 
let's look at thee ;" and the old man went fearlessly up 
to the horse's head, and placing his hand in the head- 
collar, commenced turning him about. 



SPC BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" Send one of your men for my saddle, Tanner, and 
put No. 3 bridle on him. Is No. 3 the one with 
the deep port ? Yes, that's it," said she, touching' it 
with her whip. " I'll just see what he's made of in the 
Row." 

" Miss," said old Freeman, coming up close to her, 
and whispering, " better, wait till t'see waat's made of 
oop in tan-ride at whoom — naasty brute, I'm thinldn' 't 
'ill prove." 

"Ah, never mind, Freeman ; there's room in the 
Row to give him a very good bucketing. Bring him 
out." 

He came out with a bound, and backed and reared 
and kicked when any one approached him, so that fully 
five minutes had elapsed before Kate, with all her readi- 
ness and agility, found herself on his back. Once 
mounted he started off at once, pelting over the un- 
even stones, and slipping about in a manner that 
made old Freeman hold up his hands and curse the 
Paving Commissioners, with even more than his usual 
energy. 

Down one incline of Piccadilly and up the other 
went Balthazar, now and then trying his chance of a 
buck- jump, occasionally manifesting his inclination to 
rear. So through the Arch and into the Row. There 
Kate thought he might have his fling ; there was no one 
within sight ; and " to take it out" of a brute like this 
_ was a feat in which at one time she would have taken 
infinite pleasure; even now it promised some excitement. 
So quietly drawing the curb and simultaneously touch- 
ing him with her heel, she felt the big brute give one 
tremendous plunge and snort, and then dart off like 
lightning. And now Kate's colour came again, and her 
heart leapt within her as she felt once more the ecstasy 
of tearing speed. Away he goes, easy as a chair when 
once he has settled into his stride, and with more real 
go in him than she has felt in any horse she has ridden 
for months. Bravo, Balthazar! Whoop, boy ! get along! 
and the blue habit floats behind, and the gravel flies 



BALTHAZAK. ,"'.17 

round her, and she is going the real pace now, and no 
mistake ! "Who is this rider creeping out across her 
path from beneath the trees ? Steady, boy, stead}' ! by 
Jove, he's got the bit between his teeth, and there's no 
stopping him ! Soho, soho, man ! a shake — another ; 
that's done it ! the bit's free, and she pulls him up easily; 
and to her pulling him rides up a man, flushed, with 
working lips and scarlet face — Charles Beresford. She 
stares at him with starting eyes and compressed lips, 
through which comes the word " Charley !" 

" It is you, you she-devil, is it ?" said Beresford : " I 
thought it must be. This is fate that has sent you 
here to hear me curse you. I know what you've done, 
fast enough. You thought you could stab in secret, 
did you, you Jezabel? and without its being known 
where the blow came from ! But I saw your infernal 
hand, and when I saw it, I cursed you as I curse you 
now !" 

" Charley ! Charley ! oh, for God's sake ; oh, if ever 
you cared for me — " 

" Cared for you ! I never did ! I told you so— told 
you at least as plainly as a man could tell a woman ; 
and then in sheer revenge — in dirty, low, mean revenge 
—you do this ; but I'll be even with you. I'll — stand 
oft', curse you ! take your hand off, I say — " 

She had laid her hand on his arm. He shook it off 
roughly, and in shaking it off raised his whip-hand spas- 
modically, and struck Balthazar sharply in the mouth. 
The Irish horse reared up on end straight as a dart, 
forced to his feet, plunged for an instant, and then 
started off in a mad gallop. Kate sat like a rock, pullin 
— pulling without the slightest effect. Then looking 
down she saw he had his eye turned back toAvards her, 
and held the bit in a firm grip between his teeth. This 
time the shake was no use ; he would not loose his grip, 
and the bit was useless. They are nearing the end of 
the Bow, and she remembers, shudderingly, the heavy 
iron gates, between which it would be impossible to steer 
him. If she could but turn him into the Drive, and so 



b 



398 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

head up towards the Serpentine bridge! A touch with 
her leg and a sharp tug at the rein; the Irish horse rises 
like a bird at the iron bars, but touches them with his 
fore-feet, and falls headlong into the Drive, rolling over 
on to his rider, who lies there crushed and motionless. 



CHAPTER XXXVI-. 

" BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT." 

Whex Mr. Scadgers walked into the lobby of the Tin- 
Tax Office soon after noon on the day on which Mr. 
Beresford had announced to Mr. Simnel his intention of 
taking some decisive step in the Schroder business, he 
asked to be shown to Mr. Simnel. The abruptness and 
audacity of this demand struck dismay into the breasts 
of the attendant messengers; they could scarcely believe 
their ears. Mr. Scadgers was not unknown in the classic 
regions of Rutland House : in all the various departments 
of that grand governmental hive he drove a roaring trade; 
and though it was mostly carried on by correspondence, 
or through agents, yet he occasionally appeared in person 
on the scene, notably on Quarter-days, for the purpose of 
"bouncing" an instalment out of recalcitrant debtors. 
So, had he inquired for any of the junior clerks, or for 
any recognised black sheep of higher standing, he would 
have been quietly shown into the waiting-room' appor- 
tioned for the reception of the public, and a light-heeled 
Mercury would have been torn from the perusal of the 
newspaper, and, with his tongue in his cheek, have been 
started off to summon the indebted one. But when Mr. 
Simnel's name was mentioned, it was quite a different 
thing. The head messenger, who had never before at- 
tended to Mr. Scadgers, condescended to listen to what 
he had to say, at the same time deadening any hopes 
which might have been entertained with a chilling 
shoulder-shrug. " I'll see, sir," said he, — " I'll see; but 
I think the Seckittary is partic'lar engaged just now: 
if you'll take a seat, sir, I'll let him have your names 



400 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

but — " "That's all; you tell him I'm here," said Mr. 
Scadgers, simply; "I'll stand the racket about his seeing 
me or not." The chief messenger shook his head as he 
walked slowly towards the secretarial apartment : he 
knew that no business in Mr. Scadgers' peculiar line 
could be on foot between that worthy and Mr. Simnel ; 
for did not he, the chief messenger, take the Secretary's 
pass-book to the bank; did he not pay-in moneys, and 
get cash for his master's cheques; and was he not conse- 
quently aware that a very capital balance was always 
standing in Mr. Simnel's name? What could it be? The 
chief messenger's astonishment was increased Avhen he 
received his orders to show the " party of the name of 
Scadgers" in at once to the secretarial presence; was at 
its height when, bidden to send for a cab, he saw the 
Secretary and Mr. Scadgers drive away together. 

Arrived at Austin Friars, Mr. Simnel bade his com- 
panion wait in the outer office, while he himself was 
shown into the sanctum. He found Mr. Townshend 
somewhat aged and broken, but invested with all such 
relics of his former haughtiness as he could command. 
He received his visitor with studied cold politeness, 
pointed him to a chair, and waited for him to speak. 

" I was sorry," began Simnel, " to be compelled to 
ask you to return home; but the fact is that the busi- 
ness was urgent, and I had no alternative. You compre- 
hend?" 

" I comprehend, sir," answered Mr. Townshend, " that 
the last time I saw you you proved yourself possessed of 
a secret, on the keeping of which depends my — almost 
my life! The possession of this secret enables you to 
dictate terms to me at your own convenience. Your 
convenience is now. You ordered me to come here to 
hear your terms, and I am here. Isn't that so?" 

" You put matters a little harshly, Mr. Townshend; 
as, when you have heard what you are pleased to call my 
terms, I think you will allow. I do not come merely to 
dictate terms to you, as I at one time thought I should, 
lliere are wheels within wheels in my scheme; and I 



" liE •,-A-RB YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT." -101 

must take oil' the front, and show you the whole scheme 
at work before you will be able to see the mechanism of 
ii. The last time I had the pleasure of talking with you, 
you asked me what I wanted; I told you nothing. Since 
then I have made up my mind. I want justice!" 

" Justice!" echoed the old man, turning deadly white; 
"justice!" 

'•Justice!" said Simnel; "not on any one though, 
merely for somebody Pardon my again asking about 
that door. Nobody to listen, eh? All right! Last time 
I was here I had a notion in my head, which has since 
resolved itself into a certainty, and into the pivot on 
which all my action turns. I must bore you with old 
memories once more, I'm afraid. You recollect that, 
while you were at Combcardingham with our old friends 
Pigott and Wells, you formed an acquaintance with a 
very pretty girl — a ' hand' in one of the factories? You 
shake your head, eh? it is a long time since, and these 
sort of things get pushed from one's mind by other 
affairs, and — however, I think you'll recollect her when 
I mention her name. Does the name Ann Moore convey 
to you — Ah! I thought so! I'll wait a minute, if you 
please; there's no hurry." 

" Go on, sir ; go on!" said Mr. Townshend, whose 
face was hidden in, and supported by, his hands. 

" An attachment sprung up between you and Ann 
Moore, I think, which was the cause of great distress to 
her only relation, a brother, with whom she lived. This 
brother and you exchanged words — if not blows — on this 
subject, and the result was that the girl left her brother 
and went to live with you. Did you speak?" 

If he had spoken, he did not repeat what he had said, 
but sat there still and silent. 

" She had been living with you for about a year when 
that unfortunate affair of the acceptance happened. You 
were obliged to leave Combcardingham ; but you were not 
obliged, so far as I can make out, to leave it as you did 
— without giving her the least notion of your intention; 
without leaving her one shilling to support herself or 

DD 



402 BKOKBN TO HARNESS. 

your little child! She could not go back to the factory; 
she had not been there since the child's birth; and she 
was weak and ill, and unable to do the work. So she 
and the child starved." 

" Great God!" cried the old man, looking up in hor- 
ror — " starved?" 

" Well — for all you had to do with it! You're just 
as much a murderer as if they actually had perished of 
want, leaving them as you did! But they didn't. Neigh- 
bours found them out only just in time; found out her 
brother; and he, when he found you'd gone off, came 
round and took his sister to his heart again. He was a 
printer just starting for himself, and he took his sister — 
she'd always been his favourite — to his new home; and 
there she died three weeks after her arrival." 

" Died? Ann died? not of—" 

" No, not of starvation, if you mean that; they said 
she died of a broken heart at having been deserted by 
the man she worshipped; but we know by medical science 
that that's an impossibility — don't we? At all events, 
she died; and then the printer, who was a rising man, 
looked after the little girl. He looked after her in an 
odd way. He had a foster-brother, who was a rider in a 
circus; and when the little girl was six years old, he 
placed her with the circus-people, where she remained 
until he started her in life on her own account." 

" She lived, then?" 

" Oh dear, yes ; lived considerably; lives now and 
flourishes, and does extremely well. You have heard of 
a riding-mistress and horse-breaker, Miss Kate Mellon?" 

"I have heard of such a person; and I have not 
heard — " 

" Steady, please! Kate Mellon is Ann Moore's daugh- 
ter. I need not point out her relationship to you. You 
shake your head. Proofs of course you want? I've taken 
the liberty of ringing the bell. Be good enough," added 
Mr. Simnel, to the clerk who appeared, " to tell that per- 
son who is waiting outside to step in. Do you recog- 



"BE suke your, bin wile pine you out." 403 

nise him?" he asked of Mr. Townshend, as Scadgers en- 
tered the room. 

Mr. Townshend, shading his eyes with his hand, 
looked long at the new-comer, and then said, " It is 
George Moore!" 

"Eight enough, sir," said Mr. Scadger-; '-'though it's 
many a long day since we met; and we're neither of us 
so young as then. Lord bless me! when I look at the 
Eunner — we used to call him the ' Eunner' because of 
Townshend of Bow Street, which was a nickname for 
him," added he, turning to Mr. Simnel, — " when I look 
at the Eunner, and think how long it is since I left my 
mark on him about — " 

" "We won't trouble you for details," interrupted Mr. 
Simnel; "this gentleman acknowledges you as George 
Moore. Will you state whether you are the brother of 
Ann Moore, and if so, what became of her and her child?" 

" Ann Moore was my sister," said Scadgers in a low 
voice, " as this man knows well enough. After he left 
the town suddenly and without giving her any notice, 
without leaving her any money, without — there, though 
it's so long ago, it makes me mad now when I think of 
it. When he left her starving and penniless, I took such 
care of her and the little one as best I could. Then — 
poor Ann died, and the child came to me. Young Phil 
Fox was my foster-brother; and he saw the little girl, 
and his wife took a sort of fancy to her, having none of 
their own. So I apprenticed her to old Fox, and she was 
with him for years, until I had got on in life and made 
some money; and then I thought I'd do what was right 
by the child, not letting myself be known in the matter, 
for I couldn't get over poor Ann's disgrace; and I fetched 
her away and had her put to business for herself." 

" You didn't have her called by her mother's or her 
father's name, I believe?" 

" No ; her mother's name was shame to me ; her 
father's would have been worse; so I called her Kate 
Mellon, after my mother's people ; and by that name 
she's gone ever since." 



404 BROKEN TO HAttXESS. 

" Thank you. You hear this testimony, Mr. Towns- 
hend; you — " 

"I hear! I hear!" said the old man testily. " I hear 
what may possibly be a clever story arranged between 
two men for the purposes of extortion — " 

The black cloud settled on Mr. Simnel's face ; but be- 
fore he could speak, Scadgers burst in: "Extortion! if 
I'd wanted any thing of you, Mr. George Townshend, 
shouldn't I have had it years ago? I've known where 
you've been and what money you've been making for the 
last eighteen years; and if I'd wanted any thing of you, 
I could have come down on you at any time. But I 
scorned it for me or for my sister's flesh and blood, just 
as I scorn it now! Extortion! why — " 

" There ! you're very naturally annoyed and excited, 
my good sir; but I think we shall bring Mr. Townshend 
to reason," said Mr. Simnel. " I don't think I need de- 
tain you any longer. I shall see you in a very short 
time, and, I hope, have some satisfactory news to com- 
municate. Good-day!" and Mr. Simnel shook hands with 
Mr. Scadgers, who made a very curt bow to Mr. Towns- 
hend, and departed. Then Simnel turned to the old man, 
and said, " I make every allowance for your annoyance 
in this matter, Mr. Townshend; but you can no longer 
really doubt the truth of this statement." 

" And suppose I admit it, sir; what then? To what 
end have you hunted up this story and — and the other, 
which you hold in terrorem over me? What views of yours 
am I to meet? What price am I to pay for past follies?" 

" Follies is an easy word," said Simnel, with a grim 
smile; "but I don't think my proposition is a hard one. 
I am attached to Miss Moore — Kate Mellon — call her 
what you like — your daughter, I mean — honourably at- 
tached to her; but you, as a man of the world, will see 
that it would be impossible for me to marry a girl who 
is simply known for her eccentricity and her daring; who 
has no position in society — no relations — no any thing 
which the world demands, save money, and even of that 
she has not sufficient. You follow me?" 



"V.K Sl'UH YOUC SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT." 405 

"Yes. sir, yes," said Mr. Townshcnd, who had again 
burial Ins face in his hands. 

" Well, then, what I propose," said Simnel, who was 
getting annoyed at the old man's manner, " and what, 
moreover, I intend, by means of the hold which I have 
over you, to carry out, is this : you must acknowledge 
this young lady as your daughter ; take her to your 
house, and let her live there for a month or two ; let 
our wedding — a formal wedding, with all friends invited 
— take place from there ; and you must give her ten 
thousand pounds." 

"I refuse!" said Mr. Townshend; " I entirely refuse; 
I—" 

" Oh, no, you don't," interrupted Mr. Simnel; "you'll 
think better of it. Why shouldn't you? You gave Mrs. 
Schroder, who didn't want it at all, twenty thousand ; but 
you're not so well off just now, I know." 

" How do you know that, you who are so well in- 
formed on all my affairs?" 

'• Well, I think I know pretty nearly every shilling 
you have out," said Simnel, rubbing his knee ; " and 
Cotopaxis and Tierra del Fuegos have gone down like 
water lately. Xo; as matters stand, I'll be content with 
ten thousand." 

" I did not so much mean about the money. I do 
not say that I would not pay the sum you name to be 
rid of the annoyance ; but I will never undergo the humi- 
liation of acknowledging that connexion." 

" Better that than the humiliation of standing in the 
Old-Bailey dock! Better that than stone-quarrying at 
Portland at your time of life, sir, I can tell you, besides 
humiliation. Xonsense ! It is not as if the acknow- 
ledging this daughter would hurt the prospects of the 
other. She has done with you now. If she marries 
again, it will be as Mr. Schroder's widow, without re- 
ference to you. Don't you understand?" (" He didn't 
like that allusion to Portland," said Simnel to himself. 
" I distinctly heard his teeth chatter as I said the word."/ 

"And suppose I were to consent to this proposition. 



406 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

sir," said the old man in a tremulous voice, " what guar- 
antee have I that you might not come upon me at some 
fature time for more money, or the gratification of some 
other wish; and that, on my refusal, you might not be- 
tray that horrible secret which you hold?" 

" Now, my clear sir, there your usual sound common- 
sense has for once deserted you. Is it likely that, when 
once you are my father-in-law, I should proclaim a gen- 
tleman whose connexion with me I had taken so much 
pains to make public, as — pardon me — as a felon?" 

Mr. Townshend cowered back in his chair, as Simnel, 
leaning forward to impart additional earnestness to his 
manner, uttered these last words. For a minute or two 
there was a dead silence; then the old man, with a ter- 
rible effort at collecting himself, asked, " When do you 
require an answer to this demand?" 

" An answer ? Immediately ! I cannot conceive that 
there can be any question as to the answer to be re- 
turned. I am sure that you, my good sir, could not be 
mad enough to object to what is, under all the circum- 
stances, really a very reasonable proposition. I merely 
want you to pass your word to agree to what I have 
placed before you, and we will then settle the time for 
carrying the arrangement into effect." 

"What delay will you grant me?" 

" Now, upon my word, Mr. Townshend," said Simnel, 
in a semi-offended tone, " this is scarcely polite. You 
ask for delay, as though you were ordered for execution, 
instead of having what might have been a very unplea- 
sant affair settled in a thoroughly satisfactory manner." 

"You must pardon me, sir," said Mr. Townshend; 
" I am an old man now. I am broken with illness; and 
this interview has been too much for me. Pray end it 
as speedily as possible." Indeed he looked as wan and 
haggard as a corpse. 

"Poor devil!" thought Simnel, "I pity him tho- 
roughly. But there must be no shrinking now, and no 
delay, or that Schroder-Beresford business may fall 
through; and then — " "I must get you to act at once, 



"BE SURE YOUR SrN WILL FIND YOU OUT." 4»>7 

then, Mr. Townshend, if you please," lie said aloud. 
"Your daughter had better come to you at once, and we 
can then be married in a month or six weeks' time." 

Mr. Townshend bowed his head. "As you please, 
sir; perhaps you will see me again to-morrow, or the 
day after. Just now I can settle nothing; my head is 
gone." And so the interview ended. 

"I must keep him to it, by Jove!" soliloquised Mr. 
Simnel; "and pretty tight too, or it will fall through 
yet. He looked horribly ill, and he'll be going off the 
hooks without any recognition or any settlement, and 
then we should be neatly in the hole; for, of course, not 
one single soul would believe the story of Kitty's birth, 
though told by me and sworn to by Scadgers. And now 
I must let her know the whole truth, and ask for the 
reward. It's been a hard fight, and it isn't won yet." 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

3IIN1STERING ANGELS. 

A crowd gathered round her in an instant. A nursery- 
maid, with her shrieking, frightened, inquisitive charges; 
a man who had been reading a book, and who still re- 
tained it open in his hand; a Life-guardsman who, jantily 
striding along with a cane under his arm, had seen 
the horse jump and fall, and had him by the bridle so 
soon as he staggered to his feet, after rolling; a few va- 
grant boys, who came whooping from under the trees 
where they had been at play; and two old gentlemen, 
who had been silently pacing up and down together. 
Flecked with foam, covered with gravel, and bleeding at 
the knees and mouth, Balthazar stood trembling all over; 
and now and then looking down in wonder at his mis- 
tress who lay there, her head supported on a man's knee, 
her face deadly white, with one small thread of blood 
trickling down her forehead. The man on whose knee 
she lay passed his hand rapidly down her side and in 
the region of her heart. He was a park-keeper — a big 
brown-bearded man, whose decorated breast showed what 
deadly service he had seen — a stalwart giant with the 
heart of a child, for the tears were in his eyes, and his 
voice was any thing but steady as he looked up and said, 
" It beats yet!" It was to the guardsman he said it — 
the guardsman, who gave Balthazar's bit a wrench, and 
who muttered hearty curses on the horse for spoiling the 
beauty of such a comely lass. 

"All your fault, you blunder-headed brute, it was! 
The lady sat him like a bird, but he got the bit between 
his teeth and came bolting down the Row; and when 



MIMSTEIUXG AAGELS. 409 

she tried to turn him over the rails, he jumped short, 
the beast, and went slap on to his head. Yarr !" and he 
gave the horse another chuck in the mouth, and looked 
as if he would have liked nothing bo well as to punish 
him on the spot. 

As he spoke, a carriage drawn by a pair of horses 
came whirling down the Drive. It contained two ladies, 
one of whom, seeing the crowd, sat up, and pointed it 
out to her companion. Then they both looked eagerly 
out, and checked the coachman just as they reached the 
spot. By his mistress's orders the footman descended, 
inquired what had happened, and returned to the carri- 
age to report. The next minute Alice Schroder, closely 
followed by Barbara Churchill, was kneeling by Kate 
Mellon's side. 

What was it? — how had it happened? — who was the 
lady? — did any one know her? — had a doctor been sent 
for? These questions were asked in a breath, and almost 
as speedily answered. The story of the accident, so 
much of it at least as had been witnessed, was narrated. 
The park-keeper knew the lady by sight as a constant 
rider in the Bow, always splendidly mounted, generally 
with other ladies, who, he thought, were pupils like; 
real ladies, the latter, and no doubt about it; for he 
thought he saw a glimmer of distrust in Barbara's eye; 
and this poor lady regularly like one of themselves. 
Boor lady! always so affable, giving " Good morning" to 
him and the other park-keepers — never knew her name, 
no; but no harm in her — one of the right sort, take his 
word for it. Had a doctor been sent for? Yes; two of 
the vagrant boys had been started off by the man with 
the book to fetch the nearest surgeon; but in the mean 
time several other persons had come up; among them a 
tall thin gentleman on an old white horse. This gentle- 
man dismounted at once, quietly pushed his way through 
the crowd, knelt down by poor Kate Mellon's senseless 
body, and placed his finger on her pulse; then, looking 
up with a grave, thoughtful, professional smile into Mrs. 
Schroder's face, said: 



410 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" You are a friend of this lady's?" 

"Only in my desire to serve her," said poor little 
Alice, who was the best-hearted little creature in the 
world, and who was bursting with philanthropy. " Why 
do you ask?" 

"Simply that she must be moved to the nearest 
house as quietly and as quickly as possible. I am Dr. 
B.," continued the gentleman, naming a well-known 
physician; "but this is a surgeon's case, and should be 
seen by a surgeon at once. I fear St. George's is almost 
too far off." 

" St. George's !" said Alice. " Oh, she must not go 
to an hospital; she — " 

" My dear lady," said the old physician, " she could 
not go to any place so good; but it is a little far off." 

" Then let her go to my house," said Alice. " I live 
close here — in Saxe-Coburg Square — just through Queen's 
Gate. Let us take her there at once, and — " 

"My dear young lady," said Dr. B., "you scarcely 
know what trouble you are entailing on yourself. This 
poor girl is in a very bad way, I am sure, from the 
mere cursory examination I have been able to make. 
And — and, pardon me," he added, glancing at Alice's 
widow's-cap, " but you, surely, have seen enough trouble 
already for one so young." 

" Will you be kind enough to superintend her being 
lifted into the carriage?" was all Alice said in reply. 
And the doctor bowed, and looked at her with a wonder- 
fully benevolent expression out of his keen gray eyes. 

Where had Barbara been during this colloquy ? 
Where, but at the side of the prostrate figure, stanch- 
ing the little stream of blood that welled slowly from 
the wound in the forehead, and bathing the deadly-cold 
brow and the limp hands with water that had been 
fetched from the neighbouring Serpentine. And then, 
at the doctor's suggestion, the park-keeper fetched a hur- 
dle from the enclosure, and this they stretched across 
the seats of the carriage, and, covering it with shawls 
and cloaks and wraps, lifted on to it the prostrate form 



MINISTERING ANGELS. 411 

of Kate Mellon, and with Alice and Barbara attendant 
nn her. and the doctor riding close by, they drove slowly 
away. 

Informed by the doctor that it would be dangerous 
to attempt to carry the patient upstairs, Mrs. Schroder 
had sent the footman on with instructions ; and by the 
time they arrived at the house they found that a bed 
had been prepared in the library, a room on the ground 
floor, unused since Mr. Schroder's death. As they passed 
through Queen's Gate Dr. B. had cantered off, promising 
to return in a minute, and they had scarcely laid poor 
Kitty on the bed before he appeared, followed by a hand- 
some bald-headed man, with a keen eye and a smile of 
singular sweetness, whom he introduced as Mr. Slade, 
the celebrated surgeon of St. Vitus's. 

"I thought I recognised Slade's cab standing at a 
door in Prince's Terrace. He drives the most runaway 
horse in the most easily over-turned vehicle in London; 
but I suppose he thinks he can set his own neck when 
he breaks it, which he is safe to do sooner or later; so I 
rode round, and fortunately caught him just as he was 
coming out. And now I'll leave the case in his hands; 
it would be impossible to leave it in better." And so 
saying, Dr. B. bowed to the ladies, exchanged a laugh 
and a pinch of snuff with his brother-professional, and 
took his leave. 

Mr. Slade then approached the bed, and made a 
rapid examination of the patient, the others watching 
him anxiously. His face revealed nothing, nor did he 
speak until he sent one of the servants for a small square 
box, which was, he said, in his carriage. While waiting 
for this, Alice took heart to speak to him, and ask him 
if the case was very serious. - 

"Very," was his quiet reply. "Could scarcely be 
worse." 

" But there is hope?" 

" There is always hope," said the old man, his face 
li editing up with his sweet grave smile; "but this is a 
very bad case. The poor girl's ribs are severely frac- 



412 BROKEN TO HAIIXESS. 

tured, and there is concussion here," pointing to the head, 
" which causes her insensibility. The box — thank you. 
Now, ladies, will you kindly leave the room, and I will 
join you presently." 

When he came into the drawing-room, he said, " It 
is a compound fracture, and of a very bad kind. I fear 
she will never pull through; if she does, she must never 
dream of work again. I presume you ladies have been 
pupils of hers ?" 

"Pupils!" said Alice; "no, indeed; was she a gover- 
ness?" 

" We do not even know this poor lady's name," said 
Barbara; " we saw the accident, and Mrs. Schroder had 
her brought here at once." 

" Mrs. Schroder is an N angel of mercy," said Mr. 
Slade, with an old-fashioned bow. "This poor girl 
lying downstairs is Miss Mellon, a riding-mistress ; a 
most correct and proper person, I've always heard, and 
one who had a great deal to do in breaking and train- 
ing horses. I've often seen her in the Park; she rode 
splendidly; and I cannot conceive how this accident oc- 
curred." 

" Do you think her senses will return — that she will 
be able to express any wishes — before — " 

" I should think so," said Mr. Slade, not permitting 
Barbara to finish the sentence; " I think she will pro- 
bably recover from the concussion, and then she will be 
sensible. It is the fracture I fear. I'll send a man to 
her place in Down Street, to let them know where she is, 
and I'll look round again this evening." 

So there Kate Mellon lay helpless, senseless, motion- 
less, watched over unconsciously by two women, one of 
whom she hated deeply, and by the other of whom she 
was held in the greatest detestation. There she lay 
through the dreary afternoon, through the long evening, 
— when Mr. Slade came again, bringing with him one 
of the hospital-nurses, — and through the dead solemn 
night. Very early the next morning, between seven and 
eight, Barbara, on her way from her bedroom to the 



MINISTERING ANGELS. 413 

library, was surprised to see Mr. Slade enter the hall, 
and expressed her surprise. 

''Well, it is early," said the kind-hearted surgeon; 
" but, my dear Mrs. Churchill, I've taken a great interest 
in this poor girl; and as I always take a constitutional 
round the Park before breakfast, I thought I'd just run 
across and see her. — Well, nurse, what news? None, eh? 
Just raise that curtain the least bit — that'll do. Hm! 
she'll get rid of the concussion; but — hm! well, well, 
not our will, but Thine; hm, hm! Any body come after 
her yesterday?" 

" An old bailiff or stud-groom," said Barbara, " came 
down in the evening, and entreated to be allowed to see 
his mistress. I told him that was impossible, and ex- 
plained the state of things to him myself. Poor fellow, 
he was dreadfully overcome, the tears rolled down his 
cheeks, and he bemoaned his mistress's fate most bitterly." 

" Hm! right not to let him see her then; could have 
done no good. But she'll probably come to her senses 
during the day, and then, if she asks to see any body — 
well, send for them. The refusal might irritate her, and 
— and it can make very little difference." 

"You think then she is — in danger?" asked Barbara. 

" My dear young lady," said he, taking her hand, 
" in the greatest danger. If inflammation of the lungs 
sets in, as I much fear it will, nothing can save her. — 
Xurse, I'll write a prescription for a cordial. If she 
speaks, and sends for any one, give it to her just before 
they come. It will revive her for a time." 

About mid-day, when Alice had gone out for a little 
air, and Barbara was left alone with the nurse and the 
patient, there came a groan from the bed, and running 
up together, they found Kate with her eyes open, staring 
vaguely before her. After a few minutes she spoke, in a 
hoarse strange voice. 

"What's tins?" she said. " Have I missed my tip at 
the ribbons and had a spill? Lord, how old Fox will 
<nve it me! A-h, my side! This must have been a bad 
cropper, eh? Hollo! I was fancying I was at the old 



414 BllOKEX TO HARNESS. 

circus again. Where am I? who are you? what has hap- 
pened?" 

" You are with friends," said Barbara, kneeling by 
the bed; "you have had an accident, and — " 

" Ah, now I recollect ! the Irish horse bolted and 
blundered at the rails! How long ago was it?" 

" Yesterday, about this time." 

"And I was brought here — to your house! What a 
kind voice you've got! and I'm bad, eh? I know I must 
be bad from the pain I'm in; my side hurts me most 
awful. Has the doctor seen me? what doctor?" 

"Mr. Slade: you've heard of him?" 

" Oh, yes, seen him often; drives a rat-tailed bay in 
a D'Orsay cab; goes the pace; often wondered he didn't 
break his neck. What does he — oh! my side!" She 
groaned deeply, and while groaning seemed to drop off 
into a heavy stertorous slumber. 

When she roused again Mr. Slade was standing over 
her holding her pulse. "Well," he asked in a gentle 
voice, "you know me? Ah, of course you do! I've seen 
you taking stock of my old rattletrap, as you've spun by 
me, and laughing at my nag. Pain still? kind of pres- 
sure, eh? Yes, yes, my poor lass, I know what you mean; 
so dreadfully weak too ; yes, yes. What, danger? Weir, 
my dear, there's always danger in these cases; and one 
never knows. Not afraid? no, my brave girl, I know 
your courage; but — well, there's no harm in settling any 
little matters which— eh? if in God's will we come all 
right, there's no harm done, and — yes, yes ; rest now a 
bit; I'll see you again to-night." And Mr. Slade hurried 
into his carriage, blowing his nose very loudly indeed 
with his red-silk pocket-handkerchief, and with two large 
tears on his spectacle-glasses. 

When the door had shut behind him, Kate called the 
nurse in a feeble voice, and bade her send for the lady to 
whom she had previously spoken. In answer to this 
call, Barbara was speedily by the bedside. 

" You — you don't mind my sending for you; do you, 
dear?" asked Kate, in a low tremulous voice. 



MINISTERING ANGELS. 4 1 5 

" Mind, my poor child, — mind ! of course not. "What 
is it, dear ?" 

" I want you to — 'do you mind giving me your hand? 
I can't reach it myself — so, dear; thank you. I want 
you to do something for me. I — I'm dying, dear — oh, 
don't sin-ink from" me — I know it; he tried to hide it 
from me, that kind old man, and bless him for it! but I 
saw how he looked at the nurse, and I heard her whis- 
pering to him behind the screen. I don't fear ii, dear. 
I know — well, never mind! I want to see two people 
before I go; and I want you to send for them, and let 
them come here, and let me talk to them — will you, 
dear?" 

" Why, of course, of course," said Barbara, the tears 
streaming down her cheeks; "but you mustn't talk in 
this way, — you mustn't give way so — no one can tell how 
this will turn out." 

" / can," said Kate quietly. " I seemed to know it 
when I heard the click of that horse's shoes against the 
iron railing. It all rose before me in an instant, and 
I knew I was a dead woman. You can't conceive — I 
haven't said much — but you can't conceive what torture 
I'm going through with my side. It burns and burns, 
and presses — there! I won't say any more about it. Now, 
dear, will you put down the names of the people who are 
to be sent to?" 

" I shall recollect them; tell me now." 

" Well, Mr. Simnel, Tin-Tax Office, Rutland House—'' 

"Yes; and—" 

"And Frank Churchill, Esq. — oh, how your grasp 
tightens on my hand! Frank Churchill, Esq., Statesman 
newspaper-office — in the City somewhere — they'll find it. 
What is the matter, dear? You heard me?" 

" Yes," said Barbara faintly; " they shall be sent for 
at once." 

" At last," said she to herself, when she had regained 
her own room, alter despatching the messenger — " at last 
I shall be enabled to fathom this horrible mystery, and 
to show those who have doubted, that I was not wrong, 



416 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

after all, in taking the decisive step which I did. If this 
wretched creature prove to be — as I suppose she will — 
Frank's correspondent both at Bissett and at home; if — 
and yet Mr. Slade said he believed her to be a perfectly 
correct and proper person, else he would not have per- 
mitted her to be received here. Mr. Slade's belief — 
what is that worth? Is it possible that — no! Here is 
a woman, poor creature, believing herself to be on her 
deathbed, and sending for my husband, — a woman of 
whose existence I have never heard, who is obviously 
not a person of society, and yet who — great Heavens, if 
it be proved! — if the worst that I have dared to imagine 
be proved! And yet lately I have felt that that is im- 
possible, in thinking over Frank's character and ways of 
life, in thinking over all he has said of dishonour and 
deception, I have felt certain that — and yet here is this 
woman sending for him, not to his private house, — 
' Statesman office, somewhere in the City — they'll find 
it.' Statesman office! That's where the first letter was 
addressed, and re-directed to Bissett; and the second 
letter, — the envelope, I mean, — now I think of it, was 
sent to the same place. It must be the same. And yet 
how sweet, and patient, and resigned she is! how quiet 
and calm, and — Frank Churchill, Esq. — no mistake in 
both the names! Who is the other man, I wonder? 
Frank Churchill! what an extraordinary fate has planned 
this for us! I'll see their interview, and hear all that 
she has to say; and then if — of course it can't be other- 
wise — what other solution can there be? If Frank has 
intrigued with this — and she going to die too; lying- 
there at the point of death, and looking up into my face 
with so much gratitude and affection — oh, Heaven direct 
me! I'm at my wits'-end!" and Barbara threw herself 
on her bed and wept bitterly. 

The short dim twilight had faded into dusk before 
the cab containing the messenger and the two gentlemen 
whom he had been sent to fetch arrived at the house. 
They were ushered at once into the dining-room, where 
they were received by Pilkington the butler, who pro- 



IWIXISTERIXf! AXCiKLS. 417 

duced refreshment. That being declined, they were 
shown into the library. In the middle of the room stood 
the bed in deep shadow; across the far end of the room 
stood a large folding' screen, almost hidden by which was 
a woman Avith her back to them, bending over a table 
and apparently engaged in compounding some medicine 
or drink. A shaded lamp placed on a table between the 
bed and the screen shed a dim light throughout the 
room. As the door opened, Mr. Simnel entered first, 
with a faltering step, strode swiftly to' the bedside, and 
then dropped on to his knees, burying his face in his 
hands. Kate moved her arm with great difficulty until 
her hand rested on his head, and then she said, half 
trustingly, half reproachfully, "Robert!" There was no 
spoken reply, but the man's big strong frame heaved up 
and down convulsively, and the tears came rushing thick 
as rain through his closed fingers. 

" Robert, my poor fellow! you must not give way so; 
you'll break me down. I hadn't a notion you — and yet 
how faithfully you've served! I saw it, Robert; I knew 
it long ago, when — ah, well, all over now; all over now, 
Robert, eh? — What, Guardy, you here too! That's well. 
Ah, I feel so much more composed now I see your dear 
solemn old face. You came at once." 

" Came at once, my poor child— my poor dear child — " 
and Churchill's voice failed him and he stopped. 

"Now, Guardy, come! You won't have much more 
trouble with your bothering charge, and you must be 
steady now. It gives me fresh courage, I declare, to hear 
your solemn voice and to know that you're at my very 
side for all sorts of serious advice. — Now, Robert, you 
know that I'm in a bad way; that I'm going to — no, no. 
be a man, Robert; you'll upset me, if you give way so, 
— Guardy, this gentleman, Mr. Simnel, has been Aery, 
very kind to me for a long, long time. He wanted to 
many me, Guardy; and wanted me to have a proper 
place as his wife, and so he's been hunting up all about 
my friends and my birth and that, and he's found out a 
lot. But he doesn't know about you, Guardy; and as I 

EE 



418 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

wanted to tell him about that, and to settle one other 
thing-, I sent for you both to-night. The — the medicine! 
—ask nurse — I'm a little faint!" 

Both men rose ; but Simnel was nearest, and it was 
into his hand that the woman behind the screen placed 
the glass. When Kate had swallowed the cordial, she 
said, in firmer tones : 

"• I told you, Robert, that when I left old Fox's circus 
I was fetched away by two gentlemen, an old fellow and 
another. This is the other. When we got to the hotel 
that night, the old man said to me, 'Never you mind 
who I am, my lass; you won't see me any more after 
I've once started you in town; but you will see this gen- 
tleman, and you'll have to send to him whenever you 
want advice or any thing else. He's your guardian,' he 
said, ' and he'll look after you.' I recollect I laughed, 
and said he looked very young, and giggled out some 
girl's nonsense; but he — I can see you now, Guardy! — 
put his hand on my head and told me he was much older 
than I, and that he'd had plenty of experience to teach 
him the ways of the world. I've never seen the old man 
since; but, oh, how often I've sent for Guardy! I've 
worried him day and night, written to him whenever I 
wanted to know any thing : how to treat swells who 
wouldn't pay, or who were getting troublesome in other 
ways; when I wanted the landlord seen, or fresh land 
bought ; when — good Lord ! when I lost heart over — 
something — and thought of giving the place up, and 
selling off and going away, he's kept me as straight as a 
die; he's never shown the least ill- temper with all my 
worryings and fidgettings; he's always shown me what 
to do for the best — and has been my kindest and least 
selfish and best friend." 

" You say too much, Kate," said Churchill; " any 
thing I have done you have repaid long since by your 
good sense and docility." 

" You could never he repaid, sir, I see plainly enough," 
said Simnel; " there are few men who would have so ac- 
quitted themselves of such a charge, and I shall ever 



MIXISTERIXG AXUKLS. 419 

honour and esteem yon fo r it. But may I ask how you 
came to be known to the other person of this story, who 
from some knowledge I guess to be Scadgers the bill- 
discounter?" 

" It is easily explained. When I arrived in London 
from Germany, and determined to make my bread by 
literature, I wrote where I could, and for what I could 
get. Some article of mine was seen by Mr. Scadgers. 
who then owned, amongst other lucrative speculations, 
a weekly newspaper and a cheap periodical. Pleased 
with what he had read — or had recommended to him 
more likely — he sent for me, and after a little discussion, 
made me editor and manager of both his literary specu- 
lations. He paid liberally, and seemed pleased with all 
I did; then wanted me to undertake the management of 
others of his affairs, which I declined. But one night in 
his office he told me the story of this girl — incidentally, 
as a suggestion for a tale for the paper, I believe; and so 
interested me that I suggested his removing her from 
the life she was then leading, and giving her a chance of 
doing something for herself. After some discussion he 
agreed, on the understanding that he should never ap- 
pear in the matter; but that if he provided the necessary 
funds, I would manage the whole business and undertake 
a kind of guardianship of the girl. I hesitated, until I 
saw her at the circus; then, being somewhat of a physio- 
gnomist, and thinking I saw in her face promise of what 
was wanted — honesty, endurance, and a power of keeping 
straight in front of adverse circumstances — I consented. 
The rest you know." 

" Will you take my hand, Mr. Churchill?" said Simnel 
in a low voice; ' ; God Almighty bless you for — for your 
kindness and your trust!" 

" That's right!" said Kate, on whom the action had 
not passed unobserved — " shake hands, you two, good 
fellows both of you! And now look here — but one word! 
I didn't catch all you said, Guardy, but you and Robert 
seem to have made it all right. And now I want to tell 
you about something — about — when I'm gone, you know 



420 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

— oh, you silly fellow, Bobert, how can I speak if you go 
ou so! — I've put away some money, you know; and I want 
you to have it, G-uardy. You're married, some one told 
me; and you'll want all that; and you won't despise it, 
eh? You know it's all honestly come by, and you've 
seen how it's been made — my accounts, you know, you 
used to say they were very decently kept; and there'll be 
no shame in taking it — your wife, I mean, and that sort 
of thing; you can tell her about it. I wonder what she's 
like. I should have liked to have seen her, Guardy, 
though perhaps she wouldn't have cared for such as I. 
Oh, poor old Freeman and the men at The Den — let 
them have a year's wages; I've put it all regular in a will 
which I made last year; you'll find it in the desk; and 
sell the stud — high prices, most of them. I — my side's 
awful now; don't go yet; let me have a little — just a 
little rest. I'm faint, and in such — such dreadful pain!" 

She fell back exhausted. Simnel still knelt by the 
bedside convulsed with grief; but Frank Churchill looked 
round the screen to summon the nurse. No one was 
there, so he went to the door and called softly. The 
nurse responded at once and passed by him; but as he 
turned back he saw the butler, who beckoned to him. 

" Will you please to step this way, sir?" said the man; 
" you're wanted in the dining-room." 

Churchill followed him ; and as the dining-room door 
shut behind him, found himself face tQ face with his 
wife. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

UNDER PRESSURE. 

The dulness of the autumnal season causing a heavy 
depression every where, by no means relaxed its malefi- 
cent influence in room No. 120 of the Tin-Tax Office. 
The gentlemen therein located had each, as has every 
man in the world, his own private griefs, anxieties, and 
worries ; and these never blossomed into such full vigour 
as in the autumn. In the first place, there was no more 
leave of absence to look forward to, which was, in itself, 
a dreadful thing; and then there was looming in the 
future the approach of Christmas, a dread season which 
each of the different denizens of No. 120, for different 
reasons, regarded with dismay. To kind genial Mr. Kin- 
chenton the coming Christmas was specially fearful; foi 
after a long struggle between inclination and duty, a 
struggle resulting in the victory of the latter, he had 
decided upon sending his boy Percy, the apple of his 
eye, to school after the Christinas holidays; and in the 
shadow of that coming event he was sitting moping and 
melancholy. Mr. Dibb was always bad in the autumn; 
his liver, always rebellious, was thoroughly intractable 
at that season known as the " fall of the leaf," and re- 
mained perfectly quiet, declining to perform any one of 
the functions intrusted to it, and calmly spurning any 
attempt to call it into action. So Mr. Dibb's complexion 
"tcw more and more like that of the cover of a well-worn 
school-copy of Ainsworth's Dictionary; and Mr. Dibb's 
temper became so cranky, that Mr. Crump, the extra- 
clerk, lived in a perfect cyclone of torn-up letters and 
accounts to ''do over again;" so that said Crump be- 



422 BROKKX TO HAKNKPS. 

moaned his hard fate, and expressed himself as perfectly 
certain that he should have an earlier attack of chilblains 
than usual that year. Mr. Boppy too had his private 
grief, in the shape of a visitor at his establishment, Mrs. 
Boppy's mamma, a lady of vast size from the manufac- 
turing districts, who had arrived on a month's visit, had 
monopolised the best portion of Mr. Boppy's house, and 
who demanded to have life shown to her. So Mrs. Boppy 
had instructed Mr. Boppy to convey her and her mamma 
to the Thames Tunnel, the top of the Monument, the 
Crypt of St. Paul's, to the Tower, to Madame Tussaud's 
wax-work, and other exhibitions much sought after by 
country people, but seldom visited by Londoners; and 
had moreover stimulated her husband to ask for various 
naif-holidays, which Mr. Kinchenton would readily have 
granted, but which were never obtained without a hand- 
to-hand combat with Mr. Dibb. " Yery well, Mr. Kin- 
chenton," he would say, " Mr. Boppy must go, sir, if you 
say so, of course. You're the head of this room, I believe; 
though how the work's to be got through with Mr. Pres- 
cott absent on leave, Mr. Crump next to useless, and Mr. 
Pringle, who always takes three-quarters of an hour to his 
lunch—" 

""What's that you're saying about me, Mr. Dibb?" 
Mr. Pringle would ask from over the top of his desk. 

" Says you take three-quarters of an hour for your 
lunch," would repeat the revengeful Boppy. 

"AH right! better do that than make yourself a 
wretched hypochondriac, like some people. Let digestion 
wait on appetite, and health on both, Boppy! Mr. Dibb's 
got none of the three; doesn't know, what any of them 
mean; so we must excuse him." And then Mr. Boppy 
would get his leave, and go away and do dismal duty 
with his relatives. 

Nor was Mr. Pringle in any thing like his usual flow 
of spirits. He was very mercurial, tremendously affected 
by the weather; and black skies, cold winds, and empty 
streets sent him down to zero. Moreover his other-half, 
his chum, his bosom-friend, Mr. Prescott, was away on 



UNDER PRESSURE. 423 

leave, paying his long-promised visit to old Mr. Murray 
of Brooklands; and so Mr. Pringle was left to himself, 
and sat in his chambers smoking solitary pipes, and 
learning whole pages of the Comic Song-Book, and per- 
petually falling asleep over the first page of the first 
volume of Boswell's Life of Johnson. Tor Mr. Kinchen- 
ton, who took great interest in honest George, had told 
him that no man was worth any thing unless he read 
something besides trashy novels and Little Warblers; 
and Mr. Pringle, determining to " go-in for something 
heavy," had selected the life of Dr. Johnson, whose Ras- 
selas he had read as -a child, remembering it as "the 
adventures of a young cove and an old cove, with a 
doosid good bit about a bridge, or something, in it." 
Moreover George Pringle was by no means comfortable 
as to the state of his friend's money-matters. He had 
himself " ignored," as he phrased it, all his own transac- 
tions with Scadgers; but he was in with Prescott on one 
bill, and he knew that his friend had involved himself 
with several other pieces of stamped paper in the hands of 
the same worthy. And George had a strange notion that 
some of these were overdue ; and knowing that the Long 
Vacation was rapidly drawing to a close, and that Term- 
time was coming on, he feared that the mighty engines 
of the law might be set to work, and come a general 
smash. He had written to Prescott about it; but had 
only received a couple of lines in reply, to say that he 
was very jolly, and that the things would be all right; 
so that all he could do was patiently to await his friend's 
return to town. 

That happened one night, when Pringle and Boswell 
had had a severe disagreement, and Pringle had let Bos- 
Avell drop into the fender, and had gone to sleep with his 
pipe in the corner of his mouth. There came a heavy 
bang at the oak, and Pringle, starting up and opening- 
it, found himself face to face with James Prescott, — rosy, 
stout, jolly, and beaming, with a big portmanteau in his 
hand. 

" Hallo ! old man !" 



424 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

"Hallo! old man! been asleep, eh? lazy old beggar! 
wanted me to rouse you up! give us a hand to the port- 
manteau, George, and help him in! that's it! "Well," 
taking off his coat and making a dive at his friend, and 
catching him by the shoulders, and peering inquiringly 
into his face, "and how goes it? what's the news? how 
are all the buffers at the shop? any body dead? any body 
got the sack? no promotion? always our hick!" 

" Things are much the same, I think ; no news any 
where; they'll be glad to see you back, for they've been 
grumbling about the work — not that you'll be much help 
at that, though. And what have you been doing? had 
a "ood time?" 

" Good time? stunning!" and Mr. Prescott kissed his 
fingers and waved them in the air. " Never put in such 
a time in my life. Old boy was splendaceous, did every 
mortal thing one wanted, — good nag to ride, good shoot- 
ing, capital cellar, let yon smoke where you like — no 
end! My old governor was there too, as happy as a 
bird!" 

"And the young lady— Miss Murray?" 

" Oh, Emily! oh, I can't tell you how good that has 
turned out! She's out and away nicer than any thing 
that ever was; no nonsense about her; quiet, ladylike, 
-weet, affectionate little thing! You know, George, there 
are some women — " 

"Yes," interrupted Mr. Pringle — "I know there are! 
and there are some men who want a glass of grog — and 
I'm one; and there are others who are mad spoony — and 
you're another! I'll mix for you, and we'll light our 
pipes, and then I shall be in a better frame of mind to 
listen to your dilation on Miss Murray's excellences." 

Mr. Prescott, so soon as their glasses were before 
them, their pipes in their mouths, and thej r were estab- 
lished one on either side of the fireplace, lost no time in 
availing himself of his friend's permission, and plunged 
into those amatory raptures which we have all of us suf- 
fered under at our friends' hands. The singular differ- 
ence of the young lady to, and her superiority over, every 



UXDKIl PRESSURE. 425 

one else, the mixture offense and sensibility which she 
displayed, the clever things she said and did, her deli- 
cacy, iirmness, bashfulncss, presence of mind, — all these 
were dilated on at full length by one gentleman, and 
listened to with becoming patience by the other. At 
last, when his friend fairly stopped for want of breath, 
Mr. Pringle asked, 

"And have you put it all right, Jim? of course you're 
not carrying on this kind of thing without meaning it; 
have you squared it with them all?" 

•' Well, Emily and I understand each other thoroughly; 
and it's all arranged between us, I think. I mean that 
I haven't said any thing, you know; but people don't say 
any thing now in such cases. There's a kind of a — a — " 

"Yes," interrupted Pringle — "yes; I suppose there 
is. But what about her father?" 

" I haven't spoken to the old boy yet. Not that I 
think he'd make much objection, turn rusty, or any 
thing of that sort, for he's tremendously kind and jolly; 
but I don't like to talk to him while I've got these in- 
fernal debts hanging over me. I don't think it's fair; 
and yet — Have you heard any thing from old Scadgers, 
George?" 

"No, I haven't heard any thing; but — Never mind, 
we'll talk about him to-morrow, when you've had a rest, 
and we're both clearer and cooler than we are now. Now 
turn in and get a sleep, old man; good-night!" 

The next morning, however, when Mr. Pringle intro- 
duced the subject of Mr. Scadgers and the acceptances 
which he held, Mr. Prescott showed a remarkable alacrity 
in changing the conversation, an alacrity which he ex- 
hibited on two or three subsequent occasions. He was 
in the habit, Pringle observed, of receiving every morn- 
ing with the greatest regularity a pink-coloured note 
with a country postmark, and after reading its contents 
he became very much absorbed, slightly ethereal, and 
generally indisposed to converse on mundane matters. 
But honest George Pringle, who had no such pleasant 
distractions, knew perfectly well that time was running 



426 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

on. and that some positive stop must be taken; so on the 
fourth morning after his friend's return he tackled him 
resolutely. 

" I say, Jim, about those bills ? No good fencing 
about the business anv longer; we must so into it. or 
we shall come to grief. I've a notion that some of them 
are overdue already, and I wonder Scadgers hasn't been 
here pressing for either a settlement or a renewal." 

" To tell you the truth, George, I'm in a funk about 
them myself. I saw a very suspicious-looking Jew out- 
side the office as I came in this morning, — a fellow in 
rusty black, with a blazing nose ; and when he came to- 
wards me my heart jumped into my mouth. However, 
he only asked me which was Mr. Beresford's office — " 

" Mr. Beresford's?" 

"Yes, our swell Commissioner, you know; so I got 
■off easy." 

" What's the entire figure that you're liable for— in- 
cluding mine, and all the rest of them, I mean?" 

"The entire figure? well, it can't be far off a couple 
of hundred. I had to spend such a lot when Emily was 
in town; pit-stalls whenever she went to the Opera, to 
be near her, and hire of horses, and my share of two or 
three Greenwich dinners, and all that, walked into no 
end of tin. I don't know where the deuce I'm to get it, 
and that's the fact." 

" Do you owe any thing else? tailors or boot-makers, 
or any fellows of that sort?" 

"Not a sixpence! I cleared what little bills I had of 
that kind with part of old Scadgers' money. And since 
I got that rise here last month, I could go on as straight 
as possible on what I get. But it's the infernal mill- 
stone of a back debt round my neck. I don't know what 
to do! I can't go and ask the dear old governor to 
advance; he's got quite enough to do with his income, 
and he'd be awfully knocked over to hear I was in for 
such a lot." 

"Of course you can't. Now, look here; I'll tell you 
what you must do. You must first pledge your word to 



UNDER PRESSURE. 427 

me and to yourself — not that any thing can he raised 
upon it, but it's the right thing to do — that you won't 
borrow another sixpence. And then you must go to old 
Scadgers and tell him that you're in a fix; that you can't 
pay him in a lump: but that you'll let him have so much 
every quarter of the principal, and pay decent interest 
until it's cleared off. You must draw-in your horns a 
little, and live quietly on the remainder. I'll go security 
for you to old Scadgers." 

" You're a trump, George ; but do you think he'll do it?" 

" Do it? he must. He makes far too good an income 
out of the fellows in this place and other government- 
offices to have any public row made about him and his 
goings-on. If it got blown, they'd have a leader on him 
in the Scourge that would take the skin off his old back, 
and, worse than that, stop his business entirely. No, 
no ; he'll do it fast enough. But we must go to him in 
a regular business manner. Now what are the dates and 
amounts of these different things?" 

" I've got a memorandum of them in my desk, that I 
made at the time. I'll get it out. Hallo!" said Prescott, 
opening his desk, and taking therefrom a sealed letter; 
"what's this?" holding it up. 

" Oh, by Jove, I forgot to tell you ! that came while 
you were away, and I put it in your desk, thinking to 
name it to you directly you returned. Nothing particular, 
I hope?" 

" I don't know; it's very thick, and I don't know the 
hand. It cannot be a writ, eh ?" and # Prescott turned 
very pale. 

" Writ, nonsense ! they don't send writs by post. 
Don't you know the handwriting? it's not round enough 
for a lawyer's. Open it, man; open it at once !" 

And so, wanting to know the contents of the letter, 
they actually thought of opening it. 

As Prescott opened the envelope he drew from it a 
thick roll of papers, and unfolding them, looked at them 
with wonder. Pringle, looking over his shoulder, started; 
and, taking them from his friend's hand, exclaimed, 



428 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" Bills, by Jove ! cancelled bills ! look here, the 
signature torn off and hanging. The very bills you 
gave to Scadgers ; mine, Compter's, your I U, and the 
lot ! You've been chaffing me, Jim — getting a rise out 
of me all this time, eh?" 

"What do you mean by getting a rise? I'm as 
innocent in this matter as yourself." 

" But do you mean to say that you didn't pay them?" 

"I mean to say that I've never paid Scadgers one 
individual sixpence !" 

"Then I mean to say that you're a devilish lucky 
fellow; for somebody else has." 

"Arc these bills paid, then?" 

" Ob, don't be so preposterously green, Jim. Arc 
the bills paid ? Of course they are ! paid and returned 
to you to put in the fire, or do what you like with ; you 
can never be called on for another penny. Well, youre 
a lucky fellow. No one ever paid any thing for me. 
Who the deuce can have done this for you?" 

" I haven't the remotest idea. It couldn't be Scad- 
gcr.s himself?" 

"X — no!" said Mr. Pringle, grinning from ear to ear. 
"No, I don't think it was Scadgers; he's not entirely in 
that line. Who is there that knew you were in a fix?" 

" No one, not a soul but yourself, and — " 

" No, old fellow ; I've not paid them, I'll take my 
oath. Should have been delighted to help you, but 
hadn't the wherewith." 

" Then I'm done. I haven't a notion who can have 
helped me." * 

" Well, it doesn't matter, so long as it's done. You re 
in luck's way, my boy. All this horrible excitement and 
doubt brought to an end, and you free as air. I say, 
how about the keeping quiet and not launching into any 
extra expense, now? Will you hold to it?" 

" I'll swear I will. And, what's more, now I am free, 
I'll strike while the iron's hot. To-day's Friday; to- 
morrow a half-holiday. I'll go down to Brooklands by 
the 2.40 train." 



uxdeii riiKssuJM-:. 429 

"I think you're right, Jim," said I'ringle, quietly. 
"Yoiive had your fling, and you seem to have a chance 
of settling well in life just now. Tell, the old father all 
about yourself,- — your income and your chances, I mean, 
— and don't give him the opportunity of flinging any 
thing in your teeth hereafter. Well, Avhoever paid that 
amount of stuff for you did you a good turn, and no 
mistake. I wonder who it could be. Xo use asking 
^cadgers, he'd be as close as death about it; indeed, if 
there were any hanky-panky, any mystery, I mean, he'd 
always swear he was out whenever one called, for fear it 
should be bullied out of him." 

Indeed, Mr. Pringle, not being of a very impulsive 
temperament, and not having very much to think about, 
bestowed far more wonderment on the question as to 
who could have been Mr. Prescott's anonymous bene- 
factor than did Mr. Prescott himself. That gentleman, 
in love over head and ears, simply thought of the trans- 
action as a means to an end ; in any other position he 
would have bestowed upon it a certain amount of as- 
tonishment, but now all he cared for was to avail him- 
self of the chance it had opened up to him. He had 
determined that, so soon as he found himself unfettered 
by debt, he would inform Mr. Murray of his attachment 
to his daughter, and ask the old gentleman's consent to 
their getting married. He knew well enough that his 
own official salary was by no means sufficient to maintain 
a wife — notably a wife, the daughter of a rich country 
squire — in the manner to which she had been accustomed; 
but he knew equally well that the rich country squire 
would, in all probability, make a handsome settlement 
on his daughter; and to this he thoroughly looked for- 
ward. jSTot that there should be urged against him the 
least suspicion of an arriere pensee; he loved the girl 
with all his heart and soul and strength ; but as in these 
days he would never have thought of riding forth into 
Fleet Street and proclaiming her beauty and virtue, and 
challenging all who might feel inclined to gainsay them 
to single combat, — in like manner, in these days would 



430 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

he never have thought of marrying a woman without 
money. And this Avas the youth who would have taken 
Kate Mellon in her unrecognised position, and, so far as 
he knew, penniless ! Yes, but Kate Mellon was his first 
love ; those were his earliest salad days ; he has had 
much experience of the world since then, and is not 
honester or fresher from the contest. 

There was, however, no doubt about his love for Miss 
Murray and his desire to see her, so he started off by the 
first train after business-hours on the next day, and was 
whirled off to Havering Station. One may suppose that 
he had found time to communicate the fact of his in- 
tended arrival; for he had scarcely proceeded a few paces 
up the steep hill which leads from the railway to the 
village before he saw coming spinning towards him a low 
basket-chaise drawn by a pair of roan galloways in plain 
black harness. And seated in the basket, driving the 
roans, was a young lady in the prettiest little round hat, 
and with the nicest short sealskin jacket and the daintiest 
dogskin driving-gauntlets, who gave the knowiugest 
salute with her whip when she saw Prescott, while the 
groom behind her jumped down and relieved the young 
gentleman of his portmanteau. 

" Punctual, sir, I think !" was the young lady's salu- 
tation after she had rescued the right-hand dogskin 
gauntlet from a prolonged pressure — "punctual, I think! 
I say, James, what on earth has brought you down again 
so quickly? You didn't give a hint in your note." 

"You, of course," said Mr. Prescott, looking at her 
with the greatest delight. 

"No, but really! Papa, when he read your note, 
said he was delighted to have you again, and that he 
supposed you must have obtained some further leave of 
absence. But I knew that was not likely, and I felt 
certain you were coming on some special business. Oh, 
James, there's no bad news, is there?" 

" No, my darling pet, no bad news, — good, splendid, 
excellent news! I'd tell you what it is now, but I can't, 
because it's news that's impossible to be told except with 



USDEli PJIKKSUUE. 431 

action ; and if I Avcrc t< > take action, I should astonish 
the worthy person who is hitting behind us, and who is 
taking such care of my portmanteau." 

- Oh, James, how can you ! You'll drive, of course. 
I can't fancy any thing more horrible than seeing a 
gentleman driven by a lady. Now, Bagshaw, all right. 
And so you won't tell me, James ?" 

" Not yet, Emily, not yet ; and yet I don't see why 
on earth I shouldn't. Bagshaw seems to be paying the 
greatest attention to the landscape, and, moreover, has 
established a wall of portmanteau between us and him of 
the most satisfactory kind. So I don't mind telling you, 
that I have come down to propose for you to your father, 
and to ask his consent to our marriage." 

" Oh, James, I never did ! And ask papa's consent, 
indeed! Do you know that you've never asked mine, 
sir ?" 

"Haven't I? Well, then, darling, I'll ask it now. 
No, no ! what nonsense ! Bagshaw can't see under the 
rug, and I can hold the ponies perfectly with one hand : 
give it me! So ; and now about papa; what do you think? 
what do you advise ?" 

'•I — I think he won't make any fuss, James; he's 
always full of your praises, and he's not like those horrid 
fathers in books, who never will let their daughters marry 
the people they love — I didn't mean to say that — I meant 
the people who love them ! But' I think I'd speak to him 
after dinner." 

" After dinner ?" 

"Yes, you know, when you're left alone together. 
He's pleasanter then, I think. And then you can come 
to me in the drawing-room and tell me all about it." 

Mr. Murray received James Prescott with the greatest 
cordiality; and when dinner was over, and the cloth was 
removed, the old gentleman instructed Banks the butler 
to bring up a bottle of the '20 and some devilled biscuits. 
Banks, °an old and faithful retainer, muttered something 
in his master's ear as to what Dr. Harwood had said; on 
which his master told him to go to the devil, and mind his 



432 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

own business. So the '20 was brought; and Miss Murray 
had half a glass, and then retired to the drawing-room ; 
and Mr. Murray bade his guest pull his chair round to 
the fire and prepare for serious drinking. 

Then James Prescott knew that the crisis of his fate 
was approaching, so he filled a bumper of port, drank 
half of it, looked the old gentleman steadily in the face, 
and said, '• I wanted to speak to you, sir." 

" All right !" said the old gentleman, helping himself; 
" speak on." 

" About your daughter, Miss Murray, sir," said Pres- 
cott, beginning to feel himself all aglow, — " about Miss 
Murray, sir." 

" All right !" said the old gentleman, with perfect 
calmness — " what about her ?" 

" Well, sir — I — the truth is — that I — I've formed an 
attachment to her, sir — she's — she's a most delightful 
girl, sir," said Prescott, falling into hopeless bathos at 
once. 

" She is, James," said the old gentleman, — like the 
sphynx, ' staring straight on with calm eternal eyes, ' — 
" she is." 

" She is, indeed, sir. I believe I may say that Miss 
Murray is aware of my entertaining this notion, sir — and 
that — that she's not displeased at it." 

" Of course not, of course not, James; what girl would 
be displeased at the notion that a young fellow found her 
delightful ?" 

" Confound it ! he won't give me a leg up, any how," 
said poor Prescott to himself. Then aloud, " If I could 
gain Emily's — Miss Murray's consent, sir, would you have 
any objection to me for her husband ?" 

" Ah, ha ! ah, ha ! James," laughed the old gentleman 
in great delight — " got it out at last, eh, my boy ? — been 
beating about the bush this ten minutes. I saw you, I 
knew what was coming, but I wouldn't help you. You're 
not so good at this kind of business as your father would 
have been. The vicar would have had it all out in a 
minute; and if the girl's father had said no, he'd have 



UNDER PKKSSUltE. -133 

run away with her that night. Desperate fellow Alan 
is — was, I mean; we're all stupid enough now! And so 
you want to marry Emily ? and you say, if she consents 
will I ? If she consents ?■ — nonsense, James Prescott ! do 
you think I've forgotten that alphabet? or that it has 
changed during the last forty years ? It's just the same 
as it Mas, sir, and I recollect every letter of it ! You and 
Emily have understood each other this long time. No, 
I've no objection to make. I'd sooner your father's son 
would marry my daughter than any duke in the land. 
You've not much money, but I've plenty, and none to 
care for but her. One thing, how much are you in 
debt ?" 

" Not a sixpence." 

" On your honour ?" 

" On my honour." 

" That's enough for me ! Your father knows of this." 

"Not yet, sir. I haven't mentioned it to him; but — " 

" But I have ! We talked it all over when he was 
here. So you see we old people are not so blind as you 
think us. Now, you're dying to go to Emily, and I'm 
dying to have a nap. Let us oblige each other." 

Mr. Prescott did not need a repetition of the hint. 
In the course of the next two minutes he was in the 
drawing-room; and the selections from Lucia, with which 
the piano was resounding, were suddenly stopped, and 
were heard no more until the advent of the old gentle- 
man caused a necessity for candles and calm propriety. 
I do not think it is necessary for me to reproduce the 
dialogue which was carried on during the interval. It 
was very silly and very pleasant ; perfectly easy to be 
imagined, and ought never to be described. Only one 
bit of it is worth preservation. 

" "Were you ever in love before, James ?" 

"Once, dearest; only once in my life." (If he had 
been the age of old Parr instead of six-and-twenty, he 
could not have said it with more earnestness.) 

" And why did you not marry her ?" 

" It would not have done, darling. >Shc was not o* 



4o4 BROKEX TO HARNESS. 

our grade in life. It would have been a wretched busi- 
ness. She felt that, and told me so." 

" Poor girl, poor girl!" said little Emily; "I wonder 
where she is now !" 

Preseott did not answer. He was too full of his pre- 
sent happiness to think of his former love, who was at 
that moment lying with her life's breath ebbing fast 
away. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

" WE KISSED AGAIN WITH TEARS." 

As Frank Churchill advanced into the dining-room in. 
the fading light, he saw Barbara standing by the mantel- 
piece. Her face was turned towards him, but her eyes 
were dropped to the ground. She did not raise them as 
her husband entered, but remained in the same attitude, 
while he stopped short as the butler closed the door be- 
hind him. Frank Churchill was not entirely taken by 
surprise; he knew that his wife had been staying with 
her friend Mrs. Schroder, and this fact flashed across him 
when he first received Kate Mellon's summons : but he 
thought that she might have left the house; that she 
might have gone probably to her aunt Miss Lexden — at 
all events, that there was no earthly reason to prevent 
him from obeying that summons, and going to one who 
had always understood that she had a claim upon him. 
If his wife were there, it was not likely that he would 
come across her. She had now been absent some weeks 
from her home, and during that time she had not made 
the slightest sign, had not shown the least contrition, 
the least desire for a reconciliation; had not made the 
smallest advance in any one shape or way; consequently, 
she would be as opposed to any interview as he could be, 
and would take care to prevent it. As opposed as he 
could be ? Yes; that was giving it a very definite range; 
he felt that he could trust himself now under any in- 
fluence. All that had been ductile within him had gra- 
dually been growing hard and rigid ; all his love and 
tenderness, his devotion to and pride in his wife had gra- 
dually died out; his very nature seemed to have changed: 
where he had been trusting, he had become sceptical; 



436 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

where he had been hopeful, he had become doubtful; 
where he had been generous, he had become cynical. All 
his good aspirations, his domestic virtues, seemed to have 
deserted him. What his mother had fondly hoped, when 
the separation between husband and wife came, — that 
her son would be restored to her as he was before his 
marriage, — never had been realised. For the first few 
days, fearing the gossip of the world, he came home re- 
gularly to the house in Great Adullam Street, where the 
old lady had been reinstalled; dined, and remained at 
home during the evening, until he went down to see the 
proof of his article at the Statesman office. But while at 
home, he was any thing but his old self. In the bygone 
days he had been fall of chat and rattle, keeping his 
mother alive to all the current gossip of the day, talking 
to her of new books, new men, new opinions. Now he 
sat moody and silent over the dinner -table — moody 
and silent over his meerschaum-pipe after dinner over 
the fire, resting his chin on his hand, dreaming 
vaguely of the past, vaguely of the future. Then, 
after a little time, he began to tire of the sameness, to 
want excitement and variety, and he commenced to 
dine at the Eetrenchment night after night, sitting long 
over his wine in the coffee-room, then going up and sit- 
ting in the smoke-room until late hours of the night. 
He never joined tables with any one at dinner; he never 
irave or accepted any further courtesy with his friends 
ihan the interchange of a short nod; but occasionally at 
night he would launch out into conversation in the smoke- 
room, where he began to gain some renown as a sayer of 
harsh sayings and bitter jests. 

Yes, this was what remained of the genial, kind- 
hearted, easy-going Frank Churchill. His friends were 
in despair. His mother, poor old lady, felt that the state 
of things now was infinitely worse than when Barbara 
was in the house ; for then, though she only saw her 
son occasionally, she believed him to be happy; but now 
she scarcely ever saw him at all, and knew him to be 
thoroughly wretched. She had no satisfaction in keep- 



" WE KISSED AGAIN WITH TEARS." 437 

ing house for him ; there was no use in ordering dinner 
which he did not eat; in "tidying" a house which he did 
not look at ; in hunting up and hustling into order ser- 
vants who might have been as servile as Eastern slaves, 
or as insolent as American helps, for all their master 
cared. The old lady's occupation was gone, and she 
knew it; she felt even more than ever that her position 
was lost, that she could not hope to supply the place of 
her who was absent now, however well she and her son 
might have got on before his marriage; and she was pro- 
portionably miserable and disappointed, G-eorge Harding 
too was greatly annoyed at Frank's conduct. His loyal 
soul allowed that his friend had been hardly dealt by; 
but he contended boldly that since Barbara's first false 
step, Frank had been entirely in the wrong. He con- 
tended that the husband should have gone to seek his 
erring wife, and should have endeavoured, by every means 
in his power, to bring her back to his home. When you 
talked of pride and that sort of thing to George Harding 
in a matter of this kind, he snapped his fingers loudly 
and said, "stuff!" There was no hint at any crime, at 
even any lightness of conduct, was there ? Well then, 
there was but one course to pursue. When Frank dis- 
tinctly refused to follow this advice, Harding shrugged 
his shoulders and left him to himself; but when he saw 
the dreary, vapid, aimless life that his Mend was pur- 
suing, the change that had come over him in every Avay, 
he prayed for an opportunity of once more taking him to 
task in an affectionate and friendly spirit. This oppor- 
tunity had not been given, and Harding could find no 
chance of fault-finding in his friend's work, which, though 
horribly bitter and slashing, was cleverer than ever. 

The noise of the closing door rang drearily through 
the room, and Barbara keeping silence, Churchill felt it 
incumbent on him to speak. His throat was quite dry, 
his lips parched and quivering; but he made an effort, 
and the words came out. " You sent for me?" he said. 

" 1 did," replied Barbara, still keeping her head bent 
and her eyes downcast: " I wished to speak with you." 



438 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

" I am here," said Churchill coldly. 

" I wished to tell you that — that I have learned a 
bitter lesson. I wished to tell you that, only to-night, 
only within the last few minutes, I have discovered that 
I have been deceived in — in certain matters that have 
passed between us — that I have done you — done you 
wrong." 

Churchill merely bowed his head. 

" I was present in the next room when what has just 
passed there took place. I was present, and I heard every 
word. It was by no chance, by no accident, I heard it; 
I was there intentionally and for the purpose. When 
that poor girl now lying there sent for you, I felt as- 
sured that I should gain the key to that mystery which 
ruined our married happiness; I felt assured that I should 
arrive at a solution of that mystery ; and now it is solved. 
You, who know my pride, may judge what fearful interest 
that question must have had for me when I descended 
to such means to gain my ends." 

Churchill bowed again, but said not a word. 

" I have heard it," continued Barbara — " heard the 
story from first to last. That poor stricken creature 
lying there, on what we both know to be her death-bed, 
is ignorant even of my name, far more of my relationship 
to you. From her lips I stand convicted of my mistake; 
from her lips I learn that I have done you an injustice. 
I asked you to come in here that I might acknowledge 
this to you." For the first time during the interview, 
she raised her eyes; they met those of her husband, which 
were cold and pitiless. 

"You are very good; but don't you think your ad- 
mission comes rather late? Pardon me one minute," — 
Barbara had made a sign as though about to speak, — 
I'll not detain you more than one minute. I wooed you 
as humbly as any rightminded man could, more humbly 
than some would think fit and proper; but let that pass. 
Before I asked you to share my life, I showed you plainly 
what that life was; I did not withhold one jot of its diffi- 
culties, its restrictions, its poverty, if you will. I pointed 



"WE KISSED AG -UN WITH TEARS." 439 

out to you plainly and unsparingly the sacrifices you 
would have to make, certain luxuries — little perhaps in 
themselves, but difficult to do without, from constant use 
• — winch you would have to give up. I put before you 
what I knew would prove (as it has proved) the fact, 
that, if you married me, the set of people amongst whom 
you had always lived would consider you had demeaned 
yourself, and would give you up. I pointed all this 
plainly out to you, — did I not?" 

" You did.''' 

"And you, having heard it all, and weighed it as 
much as women with any thing like heart in them do 
weigh such matters, agreed to link your lot with mine. 
G-ood. We married, and I brought you to your home; 
not a brilliant home by any means, not a fairy bower 
likely to catch the fancy of a young girl, but still, I 
make bold to say, a comfortable enough home, and one 
out of which, mind you, my mother- — one of the common- 
minded, commonplace people so sneered at by your su- 
perior race — removed, of her own free will, in order that 
you might be its sole mistress. You follow me?" he 
asked, for her head had drooped again and he could not 
see her face. 

She murmured some indistinct answer, and as he 
looked across he thought he saw the trace of tears upon 
her cheeks. 

" What was the result?" he continued. " From that 
time out, you began to change. There were great al- 
lowances to be made for you, I grant. The place was 
dull, the house small, the furniture meagre; the persons 
amongst whom you were thrown strange and entirely 
different from any you had previously mixed with. But 
the house was your own; the furniture sufficient for our 
wants; the people anxious to receive you kindly and hos- 
pitably, to make you feel welcome, to do any thing for 
you for my sake. My mother, in some respects a pecu- 
liar woman, came out of the semi-seclusion in which she 
had lived for years, to show her regard for you ; she 
wanted you to share in that wealth of affection which 



440 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

she lavished on me ; she wanted you to be as much her 
daughter as I was her son. Did you respond to this in 
any way? Xo. Did you try to content yourself with the 
lot which you had accepted ? No. Did yon, knowing 
full well how all were striving for you, endeavour to ac- 
commodate yourself to, and make the best of, circum- 
stances? Xo, no, no! You sit moping and indolent in 
your house, leaving things to go on as they best can; 
nursing your grief and disappointment and rage until 
you see every thing through a distorted medium ; you 
alienate my friends by your undisguised contempt ; you 
affront my mother by openly spurning her proffered affec- 
tion. All this you do, wilfully or foolishly ignoring the 
fact that in each and every act you inflict a stab on me 
— on me, slaving for vou, loving you, adoring you!" 

" Oh, Frank, Frank !" 

" Yet one minute, if you please ; I will not detain 
you longer ; T should never have sought this oppor- 
tunity/' — Barbara winced, — "but having it, I must in 
self defence avail myself of it to the utmost. Xot 
merely do you pursue the line of conduct I have just 
described, but you forget yourself and annoy me in a 
far greater degree. I am told of your constantly receiv- 
ing visits from a gentleman during the hours of my 
absence from home. I mention this mildly, and beg 
you to hint to him to call at some other time. You are 
offended at this ; and after a discussion, I acknowledge 
I may have been hasty, and the subject is dropped. I 
take you to a party where you meet some of your old 
friends ; your spirits revive ; you are more like your old 
self than you have been since your marriage ; and you 
walk off, away from all the rest of the party, with this 
same gentleman, with whom I myself see you in singu- 
larly earnest conversation. I again speak to you on this 
point ; you deny that I have any occasion for complaint, 
and I again give way. And now what return do you 
make me for my kindness, my trust, my confidence ? 
You accuse me of receiving letters, which as your hus- 
band I should not receive : and you demand to know the 



"AVE KISSKD A(jfAl\ WITH TEAKS." 441 

purport of the letters, and the name of the writer. I 
give a general denial to your suspicions; but as to telling 
you what you require, my pride — " 

" Oh, even you have pride, then r" said Barbara, 
with a half-sneer. 

'• Proper pride ! my honour, if you will, — for my 
honour was pledged in the matter — forbade it. Then, 
acting on a wild and miserable impulse, — without one 
thought or care for me, for yourself, for our name and 
reputation, — you took a step which has brought misery 
on my life. You left my house, your home, — left it, 
and left me to be the talk, the object of the gossip, and 
the pity of all who heard the wretched story. Not con- 
tent with that, you come to this house, and I am given 
to understand that, since you have been here, you have 
been constantly visited by the man I have before spoken 
of — Captain Lyster !" 

No drooping head now ! Barbara is standing erect 
as a dart. Her cheeks dead white, her lips compressed, 
her eyes flaming fire. 

" You have been told lies !" she said ; " lies which, 
were it not to cure your madness, and to show you how 
weak you are, and how mercilessly you have been played 
upon, I would scorn to answer ! So these dear delightful 
people have started that story about me, have they; have 
tried to degrade me in my husband's eyes by such a miser- 
able concoction as that ; and my husband has believed 
them. It is only on a par with the rest of the generous 
sympathy they have shown me, and like all the rest of 
their wretched machinations, it has some slight shadow 
of a foundation. Captain Lyster has been here; has been 
here frequently, — oh, you need not raise your eyebrows, 
—it was not to see me he came. I will tell you, in self- 
defence, what I would not have mentioned otherwise. 
Ever since Mrs. Schroder's trouble, Captain Lyster has 
been her kindest and most active friend. Before she was 
married he took the greatest interest in her; and it was 
only her father's incontrovertible desire that she should 
many as she did, that prevented him from proposing for 



442 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

.her. More ; "when you saw us walking together at that 
garden-party at Uplands, it was of Alice he was speaking; 
it was to tell me of how her reputation had been im- 
perilled by false and cowardly reports, that he had sought 
me out; and it was to ask my advice and assistance, to 
enlist me on her side, that he was so urgent." 

" How can I be sure of this ?" 

" How can you be sure of it ! Did I ever tell you 
a falsehood in my life ? You know perfectly well, — you 
would know, at least, if you had not been blinded by 
ridiculous jealousy, springing from suspicions artfully 
sown, — that I am incapable of deceiving you in any 
way." 

" What brought Captain Lyster so frequently tc my 
house, in the early days, — before the garden-party at 
Uplands, I mean, — and why did he always come when I 
was away?" 

" Shall I tell you what I believe brought Captain 
Lyster so frequently to your house, Frank Churchill? I 
did not intend to mention it; I intended to have spared 
you. Mind you, he never said as much to me, — he is 
too true and too honourable a gentleman to cast a slur 
on any one; but I honestly believe that Captain Lyster's 
visits to me were paid through sheer pity." 

" Pity!" 

" Ay, pity! He is a keen observer, a shrewd man of 
the world, for all his vapidity and his drawl ; and I 
firmly believe that he pitied me from his soul. He had 
known -me in other days, recollect ; he had seen me. 
when — well, there is no vanity in saying it; you know it 
as well as I do — when I was thought and made much of; 
when the world was to me a very light and pleasant 
place, in which I moved about as one of the favoured 
ones: when I did not know what it was to be checked 
or thwarted, and when all paths were made smooth for 
me. He found me solitary, dull, wretched; in a dreary 
quarter of the town, which was utterly unknown to me ; 
my only acquaintance, people with whom I had not one 
single thing in common, — people looking with horror on 



" WE KISSED AGAIN WITII TEA11S." 443 

all I had been accustomed to enjoy, and enjoying all I 
had heartily detested. He found me trixlc and low; he 
thought I was becoming dejected and unhappy; not that 
I ever told him so, of course, — my pride is as great as 
his; but he is, as I have said, no fool, and he found it 
out. What did he do ? In the most delicate manner 
possible, he tried to rouse me, and to show me what 
source of happiness I had in my new position and in 
your love. He was the only link between my old and 
my new life; the only person I used to see, who went 
among the people with whom I had formerly lived. 
"Was it very extraordinary for a girl to ask news of those 
with whom the whole of her life had been spent? I 
used to ask Captain Lyster for such news; and he would 
give it me, always in the gentlest and most delicate 
manner; telling me, of course, of gaieties that had taken 
place, but pointing out how silly they were, and how 
happy the most feted girls at them would be to settle 
down into a calm happy love, such as — such as he thought 
I possessed." 

" Did he say all this?" 

" He did ; and more — much more. Since I have 
been here, Alice Schroder has told me that on several 
occasions when your name has been freely commented 
upon, Captain Lyster has defended you with the utmost 
warmth, and with a spirit which one can scarcely imagine 
so naturally indolent a man to be capable of exercising. 
More than this: when the unhappy story of our sepa- 
ration became public scandal, I, having hitherto refrained 
from speaking to Captain Lyster about it, but knowing 
that he must now have heard all, was about one day to 
ask his advice. He stopped me at once. ' Pardon me, 
my dear Mrs. Churchill,' he said; 'this is a topic on 
which I cannot and must not enter. The time will come 
when — when it will be all happily settled again; and you 
would then very much regret having discussed the sub- 
ject with me. If it should ever be my hick to be mar- 
ried, and I had — as undoubtedly I should have — a dis- 
pute with my wife, I would lock the door until we had 



444 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

settled it, and returned to our usual equable state. Not 
one living soul should ever be able to jeer me about a 
matrimonial quarrel.' " 

"He was right; God knows he was right!" said 
Churchill, bitterly. 

" And yet this is the man whom you have chosen to 
misrepresent in such a matter. Believe me, that people 
unfortunately situated as we are, could have found very 
few friends with the kind heart, the tact, and delicacy 
of Captain Lyster." 

And then Barbara, heated and fatigued with her de- 
fence, stopped, and her head drooped again, and she was 
silent. There was an awkward pause ; then Churchill 
said, 

" You sent for me to — " 

" As I have told you — to confess that I had heard the 
statement made in the next room, and to admit that I 
was in error in imagining that those letters came from 
an improper source." 

Now was Frank Churchill's time. One kind word 
from him, and the misery of his life was at an end. But 
with that strange perversity which not unfrequently is 
a characteristic of good and clever men, he fell into the 
snare of saying and doing exactly what he should not. 

" And you are prepared to come home — " he com- 
menced, in a hard voice. 

" Not if invited in that tone," broke in Barbara ab- 
ruptly. 

" To come home," continued Churchill, not noticing 
the interruption, — "to come home confessing that you 
were entirely in the wrong, and that you had no shadow 
of excuse for leaving as you did. To come home — " 

" Stop, Frank!" burst out Barbara, unable any longer 
to control herself; " this is not the way to win a person 
of my temperament to agree to any measures which you 
may propose. To come home, confessing this and ac- 
knowledging that, — why, you know perfectly that you 
yourself were equally to blame in the preposterous jeal- 
ousy which you showed of Captain Lyster! I will con- 



"WE KISHKI) AUAIX WITH TKVUS." 446 

fess and acknowledge nothing. I will come home to 
you as your wile, — to be the first in jour regard, — to 
devote myself to yon; but I will make no pledges as to 
accepting other people's interference, or submitting to — " 

" In fact," said Frank, " as to being any thing differ- 
ent from what you were. Now that will not do. Much 
as — as I may have loved you" — his voice broke here — 
"I would sooner live away from you than undergo (he 
torture of those last few weeks at home again. It would 
be better for us both that — well, I will not say more 
about it. God's will be clone! One thing, I shall be 
able to make you now some definite allowance, on which 
you can live comfortably without being a burden on your 
relatives or friends. Sir Marmaduke Wentworth is dead; 
and I understand from his lawyer that I am a legatee, 
though to what extent I do not yet know. I had hoped 
that—" 

He was interrupted by a soft knock at the door. 
Presently the door opened, and the nurse put in her 
head, with an alarmed expression of face. " Come, 
come!" said she; "quickly! both of you!" and withdrew. 

Frank stopped, and motioned Barbara to pass before 
him. 

'•'Oh, no!" she exclaimed wildly, clasping her hands 
and looking piteously into his face; "not into the pre- 
sence of Death ! — we cannot go into the presence of 
Death with these wild words on our lips, this wicked 
rage at our hearts! Frank, Frank, my darling! fancy if 
either of us were summoned while feeling so to each 
other. It is a horrible madness, this; a wild inexplicable 
torture; but let it end — oh, let it end! I will pray for 
forgiveness; I will be humble; I will do all you wish! 
Oh, Frank, Frank, take me once more to yourself!" 

His strong arms are round her once again ; once 
more her head is pillowed on his breast; while between 
his sobs he says, " Forgive you, my darling ! Oh, ought 
not I also to implore your forgiveness !" 



CHAPTER XL. 

GOING HOME. 

The room lay in deep shadow, the lamp having been 
moved behind the screen. On its handsome bracket the 
Louis-Quatorze ormolu clock ticked solemnly away, re- 
gistering the death of each minute audibly, and indefin- 
ably forcing itself upon the attention of those sitting by, 
in connexion with the rapidly-closing earthly career of 
the sufferer on the bed. She lay there, having again 
fallen into deep heavy slumber, broken occasionally by a 
fitful cry, a moan of anguish, then relapsing once more 
into stertorous breathing and seemingly placid rest. In 
a large arm-chair close by the head of the bed sat Robert 
Simnel, his eyes tear-blurred, his cheeks swollen and 
flushed, his lips compressed, his hands stretched straight 
out before him and rigidly knit together over his knee. 
This was the end of it, then ; the result of all his hopes 
and fears, his toiling and his scheming. Just as the 
prize was in his grasp, it melted into thin air. Bitter, 
frightfully bitter, as were his reflections at that moment, 
they were tinged with very little thought of self. Grief, 
unspeakable grief, plucked at his heartstrings as he 
looked upon the mangled wreck of the only thing he 
had ever really cherished in the course of his busy life. 
There lay the beautiful form which he had seen, so round 
and plump, swaying from side to side in graceful inflec- 
tions, with every movement of her horse, now crushed 
out of shape and swathed with bandages and splints. 
The fair hair, which he recollected tightly knotted under 
the comely hat, lay floating over the pillow dank with 



GOING HOME. 447 

death-dew ; the strong white hands, against the retaining 
grasp of which the fieriest horses had pulled and plunged 
in vam, lay helpless on the coverlet, cut and scored by 
the gravel, and without an infant's power in them. A 
fresh burst of tears clouded Robert Simnel's eyes as he 
looked on this sad sight; and his heart sunk within him 
as he felt that his one chance in life, his one chance of 
love and peace and happiness, was rapidly vanishing be- 
fore him. Then the expression of his face changed, his 
eyes flashed, he set his teeth, and drove his nails into 
the palms of his hands; for in listening to poor Kate's 
incoherent exclamations and broken phrases, Simnel had 
gathered sufficient to give him reason to suspect that 
she had met Beresford, and that he had somehow or 
other, — whether intentionally or not, Simnel could not 
make out, — been connected with, if not the primary 
cause of, the accident. And then Simnel's chest heaved, 
and his breath came thick, and he inwardly swore that 
he would be revenged on this man, Avho, to the last, had 
proved himself the evil genius of her who once so fondly 
loved him. 

When Barbara and Frank entered the room together, 
Simnel looked up, and the bad expression faded out of 
his face. He, in common with the rest of the world, 
had heard some garbled story of the separation, and he 
saw at a glance that poor Kitty's accident had been the 
means of throwing them together again, and of effecting 
a reconciliation. What he had just heard from the girl's 
mouth of Churchill had inspired in him a sense of grati- 
tude and regard; and as he noticed Barbara clinging 
closely to her husband's arm, as she threw a half-fright- 
ened glance towards the bed, he felt himself dimly ac- 
knowledging the mysterious workings of that Providence, 
which, in its own good time, brings all things to then- 
appointed end. 

Frank and Barbara, after casting a hurried look at 
the bed, had seated themselves on the other side; the 
nurse, tired out with watching, had drawn her large 
chair close to the fire and fallen into that horrible state 



448 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

of nodding and catching herself up again, of struggling 
with sleep, then succumbing, then diving forward with a 
nod and pulling herself rigid in an instant— a state so 
common in extra- fatigue; and Simnel had dropped into 
his old desolate attitude. So they sat, no one speaking. 
Ah, the misery of that watching in a sick-room ! the 
solemn silence scarcely broken by the ticking of the 
clock, the crackling of the fire, the occasional dropping 
of the coals, the smothered hum of wheels outside ; the 
horrible thoughts that at such times get the mastery of 
the mind and riot in full sway, — thoughts of the sick 
person there being watched, doubts as to the chances of 
their recovery, wonderings as to whether they themselves 
are conscious of their danger, as to whether they are 
what is commonly called "prepared" to die. Then a 
dreamy state, in which we begin to wonder when we 
shall be in similar extreme plight ; and where ? Shall 
we have had time for the realisation of those schemes 
which now so much occupy us, or shall we be cut off 
suddenly? Shall we outMve Tom and Dick and Harry, 
who are now our intimates ; or will they eat cake and 
wine before they step into the mourning-coach, and can- 
vass our character, and be tenderly garrulous on our 
foibles? Shall we be able to bear it calmly and bravely 
when the doctor makes that dread announcement, and 
tells us that if we have any earthly affairs to settle, it 
were best to do it at once ; for it is impossible to deny 
that there is a certain amount of danger, &c. &c. And 
the boys, with life before them, and no helping, guiding 
hand to point out the proper path? Ah, Tom and Dick 
and Harry, our old friends, boon-companions, trusted 
intimates, they surely would have the heart to look after 
the children ? And the wife, dearest helpmate, true in 
all her wifely duties, but ah ! how unfitted to combat 
with the world, to have the responsibilities of the house- 
hold to bear alone? And then the end itself! — the Sha- 
dow-cloaked from head to foot! the great hereafter! 
" Behold, we know not any thing!" Happy are we to 
arouse from that dismal reverie at the sound of the wheels 



GOING HOME. 4±9 

of the doctor's carriage, and gaze into his eyes, trusting 
there to read a growing hope. 

The reflections of the four persons assembled round 
poor Kate Mcllon's sick-bed were not entirely of this 
kind. The minds of Frank and Barbara were naturally 
full of all that had just occurred, in which they were 
most interested; full of thoughts of past storms and 
future happiness — full of such pleasurable emotions, that 
the actual scene before them had but a minor influence. 
Simnel was pondering over his shattered idol and his 
dreams of vengeance ; while the nurse, when for a few 
seconds' interval between her naps she roused herself suf- 
ficiently to think at all, was full of a cheering conscious- 
ness of earning eighteenpence a-day more in her present 
place than in one in which she had been previously. And 
then came the sound of the wheels and the smothered 
knock, and then the gentle opening of the door, and Mr. 
Slade's pleasant presence in the room. 

He approached the bed, and surveyed the sleeper; 
crossed the room with the softest footsteps, and asked 
a few whispered questions of the nurse; then turned 
quietly back, and seated himself by Frank and Barbara. 

" How do you find her?" asked the latter. 

Mr. Slade simply shook his head, without making 
any verbal reply. 

"The nurse summoned us hurriedly about half-an- 
hour ago," whispered Churchill; "but when we came in, 
we found her in the state in which you now see her; she 
has not moved since, scarcely." 

"Poor child! poor child!" said Mr. Slade, plying his 
pocket-handkerchief very vigorously; "she'll not move 
much more." 

" Is she — is she very bad to-night?" asked Barbara. 

" Yes, my dear," said the old gentleman, taking a 
large pinch of snuff to correct his emotion; " yes, my 
dear, she is very bad, as you would say. There is a worn 
pinched look in her face which is unmistakable. She is 
going home rapidly, poor girl!" 

The sense of the last observation, though he had not 

GG 



450 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

heard the words, seemed to have reached Mr. Simnel's 
ears, for he rose hurriedly, and crossing to Mr. Slade, 
took him by the arm and led him on one side. 

"Did you say she was dying?" he asked in a hoarse 
whisper, when they had moved some distance from the 
rest. 

" I did not say so, though I implied it," said the old 
man; then peering at him from under his spectacles, 
" May I ask are you any relation of the lady's?" 

"No, no relation; only I — I was going to be married 
to her, that was all." He said these words in a strange 
hard dry voice; and Mr. Slade felt him clutch his wrist 
tight as he went on to say, "Is there no hope? You 
won't take amiss what I say; I know your talent and 
your position; but still in some cases, a second opinion 
— if there is any thing that money can do — " 

" My dear sir," said Mr. Slade, " I understand per- 
fectly what you mean; and God knows if there were any 
thing to be done, I wouldn't stand in the way; but in 
this case, if you had the whole College of Surgeons before 
you, and the gold-fields of Australia at your back, there 
could be but one result." 

Mr. Sinmel bowed his head, while one great shiver 
ran through his frame. Then he looked up and said, 
"And when?" 

"Immediately — to-night; in two or three hours at 
most. She will probably rouse from this lethargy, have 
some moments of consciousness, and then — " 

"And then?" 

Mr. Slade made no direct answer, but he shrugged 
his shoulders and turned on his heel. Silently he shook 
hands with Barbara and Churchill, then with Simnel, 
placing one hand on his shoulder, and gripping him 
tightly with the other; then he walked to the bed, and 
bent over it, peering into poor Kitty's puckered face, while 
two large tears fell on the coverlet. Then he stooped 
and lightly kissed the hand which lay outstretched, and 
then hurried noiselessly from the room. Mr. Slade saw 
several patients that night before going to a scientific 



GOING HOME. 451 

conversazione at the Hanover-Square Rooms — a noble 
lord, who had softening of the brain, and who passed his 
days in a big arm-chair, and made a moaning noise, and 
wept when turned away from the fire; a distinguished 
commoner, who had given way to brandy, and was raving 
in delirium; and a young gentleman, who, in attempting 
to jump the mess-room table after dinner, had slipped, 
and sustained a compound fracture of his leg. But at 
each of these visits he was haunted by the pallid tortured 
face of the dying girl. At the conversazione it got be- 
tween the microscope and a most delicious preparation; 
and was by his side as he drew on his nightcap and pre- 
pared for his hard-earned slumbers. 

Slowly, slowly wore away the night: Simnel still sat 
rigid and erect; but the nurse was sound asleep, and 
Barbara's head had drooped upon Frank's shoulder, when 
suddenly the room rang with a shrill startling cry. In 
an instant all rushed to the bedside. There lay Kate 
awake, but still under the influence of some dreadful 
dream. 

" Keep him off! keep him off!" she cried. " It's un- 
fair, it's cowardly, Charley! I'm a woman, and you hit 
so hard! Oh, Robert," she exclaimed, vainly endeavour- 
ing to drag herself towards Simnel, " you'll keep him off! 
you'll defend me!" 

"There's no one there, Kate," said Simnel, drop- 
ping on his knees by the bedside, and taking her hand; 
" there's no one to hurt you, my child." 

" I was dreaming then," said Kate ; " oh, such a 

horrid dream! I thought I Who are these?" she 

exclaimed, looking at Barbara and Frank. "I'm scarcely 
awake yet, I think. Why, it's Guardy, of course! and 
you, dear, who were so kind to me. But how are you 
here together? I can't make that out." 

"This is my wife, Kate," said Churchill; "my wife, 
of whom you were speaking this evening." 

" Your wife ! ah, I'm so glad; I never thought of 
that; I never thought of asking her who she was; I only 
knew she was, oh, so kind and so affectionate with me; 



452 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

and it was because she was your wife, eh? Will you kiss 
me again, dear? So; and again! What a sweet soft face 
it is! Ah, he's been so good to me, dear, this husband 
of yours; and I've given him such trouble for so many 
years. So grave and so steady he's always been, that 
I've looked upon him as quite an old fellow, and never 
thought of his marrying. I — I'm much weaker to-night, 
I think; the pain seems to have left my side; but I feel 
so weak, as though I couldn't raise a finger. You're 
there, Robert?" 

" Yes, dear." 

" Ay, I feel your hand-grip now! You must not 
mind what I'm going to say, Robert; you took on so 
before; but you'll be brave now, eh, Robert? I — I know 
I'm going home — to my long home, I mean; and I want 
to say how happy, and peaceful, and grateful to the 
Lord, I am. I've often thought of this time — often and 
often; and wondered — and I've often thought it would 
be like this, and yet not quite in this way. You used 
to talk to me about my rashness, G-uardy, — in riding, I 
mean." 

"Yes, dear Kate; and you always promised, and you 
never did, my headstrong child!" 

" No, Guardy, I didn't, and yet I tried hard; but I 
hadn't much pleasure elsewise, hai I? Robert knows 
that; and I did so enjoy my work! I've often thought it 
might come when I was with the hounds, and that would 
have been dreadful! All the business and bother in the 
field, and carried away somewhere, to some wretched 
place, where there'd have been no one near to care for 
me; and now I've you all here, and that kind old doctor; 
and, oh, thank God for all!" 

There was a little pause, and then she asked in, if 
any thing, a weaker voice, " What's become of the horse? 
does any one know? — the horse, I mean, that did this?" 

" He was taken home, Kate; so Freeman said. He's 
a good deal cut; but — " 

" Oh, don't let him come to grief, Robert! It wasn't 
his fault, poor fellow! He was startled by the — ah, well; 



GOING HOME. 453 

it's all over now! Don't frown so, Eobert; I ought to 
have known better. Lord Clonmel always said he had a 
temper of his own; but I thought I could do any thing, 
and — Some of them will crow over this, won't they? 
Those Jeffrey girls, who always said I was a park-rider, 
and no good at fencing, eh? "Well, well, that's neither 
here nor there. You know all about the will, Guardy, — 
in the desk, you know? and what I said about your 
having — and Freeman — and the men's wages; and — " 

As she spoke she sunk back, and seemed to fall asleep 
at once. The nurse, who had been hovering round, ad- 
vanced and looked anxiously at her, laying her finger 
on her pulse, and peering into her face. Reassured, she 
retired again; and the others, save Simnel, who still re- 
mained kneeling by the bed, resumed their places. Then, 
stretched supine, and without addressing herself to any 
one, Kate Mellon began to talk again. Fragmentary, 
disconnected, incoherent sentences they were that she 
uttered; but, listening to them, Simnel and Frank Chur- 
chill managed to make out that her head was wandering, 
and that she was running through passages of her earlier 
life. 

"Ready!" she said. "All right, Dolphin! Now, 
band! — why don't they play up? No hoop lit yet! Get 
along, Dolphin! Ribbons now! Stand up, man ! — why 
doesn't that man stand up? So; give him his head — 
that's it! Chalk; more chalk! — this pad's so slippery, I 
shall never stand on it; and — that's better. Now we go 
— one, two, three! All right, sir; all right, madam; 
told you I should clear it. Ah, Charley! Hold the hoop 
lower — lower yet. What's he at? I shall miss it — miss 
it! and then — Slacken your curb, miss, or she'll rear! 
So; that's it — easy does it. Courage now, — head and 
the heart up; hand and the heel down! Oh, he's jumped 
short! — he's over! he's over!" 

She gave a sharp cry, and half-raised herself on to> 
the pillow. The nurse was by her in an instant; so were 
they all. Iler eyes opened at first dreamily; then she 
looked round and smiled sweetly. " Kiss me, dear," she 



4.54 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

said to Barbara. "Guardy! Robert, Robert! kindest, 
dearest Robert, I'm — going home!" 

Then, with tears streaming from both their eyes, 
Frank led Barbara away; while, haggard and rigid, Sim- 
nel knelt by the bedside firmly clutching a dead hand. 



CHAPTER XLI. 

THE DAT AFTER. 

When Mr. Simnel woke on the morning succeeding the 
night of Kate Mellon's death, he felt a nnmbness in his 
limbs, a burning, throbbing pain in his head, and a gene- 
ral sensation of prostration. He made an attempt at 
getting up, thinking he would string himself into vigour 
with his cold bath; but he found his head whirling — 
his legs shaking; and, after a severe shivering fit, he was 
fain to forego the attempt, and to get into bed again. 
Then he rang his bell, and told his servant to ask Dr. 
Prater to step round at once, and then to go on to Mr. 
Scadgers, whom he was to bring back with him. The 
servant despatched, Mr. Simnel lay back in bed, and 
endeavoured to give himself up to reflection. But the 
events of the last twenty-four hours had been far too ex- 
citing for that; still lay stretched before his eyes the 
crushed and mangled figure of his loved one; still her 
last broken words rung upon his ears. 

" ' Dearest, kindest Robert!' she called me that — my 
darling called me that with her last breath. 'Dearest, 
kindest Robert!' — the last words! never to see her any 
more — never to hear her voice again! All over now; 
all — No, not all; one thing to be done, and done at once 
— a settlement with Charles Beresford!" 

Simnel smiled very grimly as this idea came into his 
mind. It was not the first time that the idea had oc- 
curred to him. As, bit by bit, he gleaned poor Kitty's 
incoherent story, as he knelt by her bed, he had rapidly 
framed his course of action, and indeed carried it out in 
his mind. He saw himself thrashing Beresford in the 



456 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

streets — saw the row that would take place thereon con- 
sequent, the desperate confusion at the Tin-Tax Office; 
and, through the perspective, had a distant vision of a 
long stretch of sand on the Calais coast — he and Beres- 
ford fronting each other as principals, a couple of soldiers 
from the neighbouring caserne as seconds, and an army 
medical man looking on. He knew that Beresford was a 
man of courage ; but he thought that he would probably 
refuse to fight in such an affair as this; therefore Simnel 
determined that no option should be given. He would 
not have a friend of his wait on Beresford with a chal- 
lenge. He (Simnel) would pick a quarrel with him on 
some frivolous pretext, and insult him in the street. 
That was what he had made up his mind to do, and that 
was what he had intended to do that very day, if his 
sudden indisposition had not prevented him. 

Little Dr. Prater found his patient very restless and 
tolerably impatient. "Well, my dear sir, and how are 
we? Glad I was at home, and able to come round at 
once. A fortunate chance to catch me, for there is a 
great deal of sickness just now amongst the upper classes. 
The tongue? Thank you. The pulse? Ah; dear me, 
clear me! as I feared — a galloping pulse, my dear sir, and 
a high state of fever! Have you now — have you had any 
cause for excitement?" 

"Yes," said Simnel, shortly; "I was last night at 
the deathbed of one very dear to me." 

" To be sure, my dear sir; how came I to forget it! — 
Miss Kate Mellon's. Oh, my dear sir, of course I heard 
of it, — I hear every thing, — at least, I heard of her being 
very ill — impossible to live. Slade attended, didn't he? 
Ah, couldn't have a better man. One of the rough dia- 
monds of our profession, my dear sir; not polished, but — 
all here!" and the little doctor laid his forefinger on his 
forehead. "And so she's gone, poor young lady! Well, 
well! Now, my dear sir, it's my duty to prescribe for 
you the utmost quietude. The least bit of excitement 
may be highly prejudicial; in fact, I would not answer 
for the consequences." 



THE DAY AFTER. 457 

" When shall I be able to go out?" asked Simnel im- 
patiently. 

"Go out, my dear sir! Not for several days — per- 
haps longer. I will send in a nurse to look after you; 
for you must be carefully watched, and have your medi- 
cines at stated times ; and I'll look in this evening. Mind, 
my dear sir, perfect quiet." 

After letting out the doctor, the servant returned to 
his master. 

" Mr. Scadgers is here, sir," said he. 

" Then show him in," said Simnel, from the bed. 

" Beg your pardon, sir; but the doctor's last words to 
me was that you was to see nobody but the nuss." 

" Are you the doctor's servant, or mine, sir? Show 
him in!" and in Mr. Scadgers was shown. 

" Hallo, sir!" said that worthy, regarding Mr. Simnel; 
" this is bad news to find you ill." 

" There's worse than that, Scadgers ; a good deal 
worse; as you'll hear. Your niece, — Kate Mellon, you 
know, — about whom we've had all the talk lately — " 

"Ay, I know; at the Runner's — I know — well?" 

"Dead." 

"Dead!" repeated Scadgers, with a blanched face — ■ 
"dead! how? when?" 

"Last night; thrown from her horse; had some row 
with a man named Beresford in the Park; horse was 
frightened; bolted, and fell with her. It was this cursed 
Beresford's fault, and — " 

"What Beresford is it?" 

" Charles Beresford of my office, — Commissioner, you 
know. I'll make him remember that day's work; I'll 
post him at his club; I'll horsewhip him in the street; 
I'll — I'd have done it to-day, but for this — this cold." 

"Charles Beresford, eh? And it's him that killed 
my niece, is it? Horsewhip him, eh? you won't be able 
to leave your room yet; it's more than a cold you've got, 
if I may judge by the look of your face and the hot feel 
of your hands. Charles Beresford, eh? Ay, ay! ay, ay!" 

" I'm afraid you're right, Scadgers," said Simnel. " I 



458 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

begin to feel deuced bad, much worse than when I woke. 
And to be lying here while that scoundrel will be getting 
safe away — out of my reach!" 

" "What do you mean, getting away?" 

"Why, he's off to the Continent! I myself recom- 
mended him to go there, to lie quiet until his difficulties 
blew over; and he'll be off at once, — to-night or to- 
morrow." 

"Will he, by Jove! no, no! don't you flurry yourself, 
sir. I'll put a stopper on that. Charles Beresford shall 
be here whenever you want him, I'll take my oath. Ex- 
cuse me now; look in and see you to-morrow." And 
despite Mr. Simnel's calling to him, Mr. Scadgers rushed 
off at the top of his speed. 

Mr. Scadgers, albeit of a stout figure, and ill-adapted 
for exercise, never ceased running until he ran into his 
own office in Berners Street, when he sat himself down 
and fairly panted for breath. When he had recovered 
a little, he called to him the wondering Jinks, and said, 
"How does Beresford — Charles Beresford — stand with 
us?" 

The little man thought for a minute, and then said, 
" About a hundred-and-thirty-seven on renewal; due the 
fifteenth next month." 

" What's his figure with Parkinson?" 

" Between eight and nine hundred; dessay more'an a 
thousand — renewals, judges' orders, all sorts of things in 
that lot. Parkinson's clerk was here yesterday, talking 
about it amongst other things." 

" Very good. Now look here, Jinks; you jump into 
a cab, and bowl away to Parkinson's as hard as you can 
split. Tell him the game's up; that I've just learnt 
Master Beresford's going to hook it abroad. Let Par- 
kinson, or his chief clerk, run down and swear this before 
the judge in chambers, — affidavy, you know, — and then 
let him instruct Sloman's people to collar Master Beres- 
ford at once." 

"You want this done?" 

"Most certainly I do; and rely on you to have it 



THE DAY AFTER. 450 

done at once. Look here, Jinks, you know me: Beres- 
ford must be quodded to-night!" 

"All right; look upon it as settled." 

"And more than that: learn, if you can, who holds 
his paper besides Parkinson, and to what amount; and 
bring me a list. Tell Parkinson that I've a feeling in 
this beyond mere business, and he'll understand. And 
bring me the list of the others." 

Mr. Jinks nodded acquiescence and departed. As he 
went out of the door, Mr. Scadgers rubbed his grimj 
hands together, and muttered, " Better than all your 
horsewhippings and shootings. Master Beresford's broke 
up root and branch, — stock, lock, and barrel. I'll never 
leave him now until I've crushed him out. Insult my 
poor niece, did he? better have put his head in the firfe 
at once!" 

That afternoon, as Mr. Beresford walked jantily 
from the Tin-Tax Office, he was arrested on the ne-exeat- 
regno affidavit of "William Parkinson, gentleman, attorney- 
at-law, and conveyed to the mansion of Mr. Sloman in 
Cursitor Street, at which pleasant house detainers to the 
amount of nearly five thousand pounds were lodged in 
the course of the following day. 

Mr. Scadgers, going, to communicate his cheering in- 
telligence to Mr. Simnel, found the portion of Piccadilly 
opposite that gentleman's door thickly strewn with tan, 
and asking Dr. Prater, whom he met on the threshold, 
for news of his patient, was informed that Mr. Simnel 
had a severe attack of brain-fever, and that at that mo- 
ment the doctor would not answer for the result. 

According to appointment, Frank Churchill presented 
himself at Mr. Russell's offices in Lincoln's Inn ; Mr. 
Russell, whose firm had been solicitors to the Went- 
worths from time immemorial, and who himself had en- 
joyed all the confidence of the late baronet. The old 
gentleman, clad in his never-varying rusty black, and 
still as desirous as ever to hide his hands under his coat- 
sleeves, received Frank in his usual icy manner, and 



460 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

bade him sit down. " I have here," said he, " a letter 
for you from the late Sir Marmaduke Wentworth, with 
the contents of which I am not acquainted; but which 
refers, I believe, to the will, a copy of which I also have 
here. Be good enough to read it, and see whether you 
require any information." 

Frank broke the seal, and read the following, written 
in a trembling hand: 

" Pau, Pyrenees, October. 
" My bear Professor, 

"Two lines, to tell you two things: I'm dying — 
that's one; I've always honoured and respected, and re- 
cently I've liked, you — that's the other. They tell me 
you're a deuced-clever fellow — which is nothing to me. 
I've proved you to be a gentleman — which is every thing. 
I wish you were my son and my heir; but I can't make 
you either. I haven't got any son, and my heir is my 
nephew — I've no doubt a very respectable fellow; a par- 
son, who collects sea-anemones and other filths, in dirty 
water and a glass-bowl — a harmless fellow enough, but 
not in my line. All I've been able to do is to leave you 
five thousand pounds, which Russell, or some of them, 
will see that you're paid. Don't be squeamish about 
taking it. I owe it you. I never gave you a mug when 
you were christened. My love to your dear wife. God 
bless you! 

" Marmaduke Wentworth." 

When he had finished the reading of this character- 
istic epistle, he told Mr. Russell of its purport; and heard 
from the old gentleman that the legacy named therein 
had been provided for by the will. Then Frank returned 
to Saxe-Coburg Square, and settled with Mrs. Schroder 
and Barbara that they should at once leave for Brighton, 
whither, after poor Kitty's funeral, he would follow them. 



CHAPTER XLII. 

AND LAST. 

Mr. Simnel was very ill indeed. Dr. Prater looked 
monstrous grave, and began to talk about 'responsi- 
bility;' so they summoned other two physicians high in 
esteem, who exchanged snuff-boxes, and looked out of 
window together, and examined Dr. Prater's prescriptions 
through a gold double-eyeglass and a pair of spectacles, 
and agreed that his treatment of the case was every thing 
that could be wished, and declined to commit themselves 
to any opinion as to whether the patient might get better 
or not. Frank Churchill remaining in town until after 
the funeral of poor Kate Mellon, and expecting some sug- 
gestions from Mr. Simnel as to how and where the last 
rites should be performed, called on that gentleman at 
his chambers in Piccadilly, and discovered the state of 
affairs. Then Churchill, while he remained in London, 
took to coming every day to see Mr. Simnel, and to learn 
whether any thing was required for him; and, coming in 
to pay a farewell visit after he had seen poor Kitty laid 
in the grave, he met Dr. Prater, and heard from his lips 
that in all human probability the actual danger was past, 
but that it might be months before the patient would be 
himself again, so dreadfully had he been weakened and 
pulled down. So Churchill went away in better spirits, 
leaving his address at Brighton, in case Mr. Simnel re- 
quired any thing done which Churchill could do for him. 
Indeed Frank wanted a little rest and repose. As though 
his own domestic worries had not been enough for him, 
he had had to supervise the whole of the mortuary and 
testamentary arrangements of poor Kate Mellon; and one 



462 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

other bit of business he had had to perform, of a some- 
what more pleasing character. 

In coming back in all humility to her husband's 
arms, Barbara had made no stipulations; but when, 
holding her clasped in his strong embrace, he was talk- 
ing of her return home, she looked up imploringly in 
his face, and said, 

" Oh, if possible, not to the old street! oh, Frank, let 
us retrench in any way, but do let us leave that horrible 
neighbourhood!" 

All things considered, he too thought it better; and 
as Sir Marmaduke's legacy had materially increased his 
income, he felt himself justified in looking out for some 
pretty suburban place, and half his days had been spent 
at house-agents' offices, and in explorations of houses to 
which he had been remitted. 

Mr. Simnel's illness did not concern himself alone, 
but reflected immediately on the Tin-Tax Office. For at 
that eminent establishment things had been so long de- 
pendent on the one man, that so soon as he was taken 
away, unmistakable symptoms of collapse began to show 
themselves, and it seemed impossible that the business 
could be carried on. For in the discharge of the business 
of the Tin-Tax Office the grand thing was for every body 
to refer to everybody else, until the whole onus of setting 
the machine in gear, of supplying steam-power, and start- 
ing the engine, fell upon Mr. Simnel; and when he was 
not there to start it, it went off in a very lame and one- 
sided manner. This was perceived by " one of the public," 
one of those wondrous persons who, with nothing to do, 
are always on the look-out to see Achilles' heel uncovered, 
]>r to spy the joints in Atrides' armour; and the person 
in question, who had been overcharged eighteenpence in 
a matter of tin-tax, and who had received, in reply to an 
appeal, a letter from the Office in which the relative 
ignored the existence of an antecedent, and the verb 
positively declined any connexion with the nominative 
case, sent the letter to the Daily Teaser, where it was 
found so charming, that a leading article ia the richest 



CHAPTER TUB LAST. 463 

and fullest-flayoured style of that journal was specially 
devoted to it. This article was much quoted; and at the 
end of the week the subject was honoured by the Scourge 
with a yet more ferocious attack. The Scourge article 
happened to be read by the Treasury Secretary on Sunday 
morning as he was dressing, and that astute official at 
once saw that something was wrong. Early the next 
morning his private secretary called at the Tin-Tax Office 
and learnt of Simnel's illness — learned moreover that he 
had applied for six months' leave of absence, thorough 
and entire rest and change being reported as absolutely 
necessary in the certificate. The next man, a political 
nominee, was worth nothing; and of the Commissioners 
none of them had the least notion of business save Sir 
Hickory Maddox, who was past his work, and Mr. Beres- 
ford, who had — well, there was no doubt about it, all 
town was ringing with it — gone entirely to the bad on 
racing matters, and was at that very time in Whitecross- 
Street Prison. The Treasury Secretary was in a fix; he 
saw that the matter was becoming serious; that the Tin- 
Tax — an important department — was going to grief; that 
some member was safe to ask a question about the mis- 
management in the first week of the session; and that 
therefore what he the Treasury Secretary had to do — 
and a deuced unpleasant job it was, too — was to tell the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer how matters stood, and 
wait for orders. The Chancellor of the Exchequer re- 
ceived the news with a very bad grace; he was a nervous 
man and hated newspaper-attacks; he was a strictly moral 
man and hated looseness of any kind. He told the Trea- 
sury Secretary that Mr. Beresford must be written to 
to resign his situation at once, or he would be removed; 
and he stated that he was thoroughly sick of nepotism 
and ' influence' in the choice of nominees, and that a man 
must be selected to fill Beresford's berth, on whom they 
might really depend for the working of the department 
during Simnel's absence. 

It was the result of these instructions that George 
Harding found himself in Downing Street, in obedience 



464 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

to a strongly-worded invitation, glaring over an old red 
despatch-box at the Treasury Secretary, and receiving 
from him the offer of that vacant berth. It was the 
result of his own honesty and straightforwardness that he 
declined it. " It wouldn't do, Sir George; it wouldn't 
do. I'm cut out for a newspaper-man, and nothing else; 
though I deeply feel the honour you've done me. No ; I 
must decline; but I know a man who would be exactly 
what you require; who — " 

"Pardon me, Mr. Harding; I was only instructed to 
sound you as to yourself; and — " 

" Pardon me, you know the man of whom I am speak- 
ing well enough; he wrote those articles on the Eussian 
question, for which Lord Hailey supplied the material, 
and with which he was so pleased." 

"Ah, to be sure; I recollect; what's his name? one 
may make a note of him, at any rate." 

" His name is Churchill. You'll find no better clearer- 
headed man." 

Then George Harding went away, and for the first 
and last time in his life exerted his influence, and re- 
quested the return of favours which he had frequently 
granted. He must have been well satisfied with the 
result of his work. Three days after Harding's inter- 
view with the Treasury Secretary, Churchill, idling at 
Brighton, was telegraphed for to Downing Street. The 
next week the London Gazette contained the appointment 
of Francis Churchill, Esquire, to be one of the Commis-' 
sioners appointed for levying her Majesty's Tin-Tax, 
vice Charles Beresford, Esquire, retired. 

Mr. Beresford, pursued with the most unrelenting 
animosity by Scadgers, found himself opposed at every 
step,— even when, in sheer despair, he petitioned the 
Court, — and opposed so successfully. +hat he was re- 
manded for two years. This period he p^sed in prison, 
and in cultivating the mysteries of racket, ecarte and 
piquet, in the two last of which he became a great' pro- 
ficient. It is to be hoped that they will be of service to 



CHAPTER THE LAST. 465 

him on the Continent, whither, having eventually ob- 
tained his release, he has repaired; and where his gentle- 
manly bearing and knowledge of the world will probably 
enable him to earn a very decent income from the inno- 
cent young Englishmen always to be picked up in tra- 
velling. 

Mr. Prescott married Miss Murray, and, for a time, 
lived in London, and attended his office with great re- 
gularity. But the old squire found he could not live 
without his daughter, and simultaneously discovered that 
it was absolutely necessary that his estate should be 
more closely looked after than it had been. So, at his 
father-in-law's desire, Mr. Prescott resigned his appoint- 
ment, and took up his quarters at Brooklands, where he 
and his wife are thoroughly happy; and where he dis- 
charges his duties of shooting, fishing, and hunting, to 
his own and his wife's great satisfaction. They have 
two sturdy children; a girl Kate, to whom Mr. Simnel 
is sponsor, and a boy Jim, who, under the guidance of 
his godfather Mr. Pringle, is already being indoctrinated 
into all kinds of mischief. 

Dear honest old George Pringle is still single. 
" Time, sir," he sometimes says to Prescott, " has bereft 
me of charms once divine," laying his hand on a bald 
place about the size of a shilling on the crown of his 
head; " but I defy him. I and Madame Eachel are the 
only people who are ' beautiful for ever.' " He is very 
happy, having risen well in his office, and he still hates 
Mr. Dibb with all the intensity of former years. 

Mr. Simnel, after some months, came back cured 
of his illness, but quite an altered man; his hair had 
become quite white, and his back was bowed like that 
of a very old man. Occasionally he goes down to see his 
colleague Mr. Churchill, or to spend Saturday and Sun- 
day with Mr. Prescott's family; but his ordinary life is 
a very quiet one, and seems divided between his office 
and the True-Blue Club, in the card-room of which he 
is to be found every night prepared to hold his own at 
whist against all comers. 

HH 



466 BROKEN TO HARNESS. 

Mr. Scadgers still pursues his trade; but I hear that 
he is now considering the advances of a joint-stock com- 
pany, who wish to buy his business, under the title of 
The Government -Clerks' Own Friend and Unlimited 
Advance Company (limited), and who propose to make 
Jinks manager with a large salary. 

There is no Mrs. Schroder now, and no house apper- 
taining to any one of that name in Saxe-Coburg Square. 
Captain and Mrs. Lyster live in a large house at Maiden- 
head, known to their friends as " The Staircase," from 
the enormous size of the escalier, but really known as 
Wingroves, — a fine old-fashioned Queen-Anne mansion, 
facing the river, where they are thoroughly happy. Their 
son Fred is supposed by his parents to be a prodigy, and 
is really a healthy pleasant boy. 

Near them is a little cottage with a trim garden, 
passing by which in the summer you will generally see 
a white-haired old lady, on a rustic seat, reading a book 
and enjoying the sunlight. 

Then comes a shout, a clanging of the garden-gate, 
an irruption of children, wild cries of " Granny!" and the 
old lady is hustled away to find fruit or play at games. 
This is old Mrs. Churchill, who has never been so happy 
in her life. 

And Barbara and Frank? They live close by in a 
charming house, with a lawn sloping to the Thames. 
Barbara has her brougham again; and all her old ac- 
quaintance have called on her, and expressed their 
delight at her husband's good fortune with great enthu- 
siasm. Miss Lexden, now resident in Florence, and a 
confirmed invalid, is perhaps the only one of her old set 
who has not so acted. But Barbara has not cared to 
renew the old connexions. Thoroughly happy in her 
husband, doting on her three children, her chief pleasure 
is in her home, of which she is now the comfort and the 
pride. 

THE END. 



32 



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II 

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Confidences 

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Erlesmere ; or, Contrasts of 
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Nanette and Her Lovers 

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Life and Death of Silas Barn- 

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Tender and True 

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20 My First Season 

By Author of " Charles Auchester." 

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A Love Story 

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• By Author of " Said and Done." 

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Adrian L'Estrange 
2 5 The Cotton Lord By Herbert Glyn. 

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By Author of " Nut-Brown Maids." 

27 Skirmishing 

By Author of " Cousin Stella." 

28 Farina ; a Legend of Cologne 

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30 Winifred's Wooing 

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